Poverty Essay

2732 words - 11 pages

The intention of this essay is to discuss the physical and psychological consequences of living in poverty. It will explore the history of the Welfare State and access its significance in the fight against poverty, outlining the effect of poverty on various groups of people within society, and how it influences health.The Social Insurance and Allied Services Report of 1942 provided the basis for much of the post war legislation that set up the Welfare State. It focused on the evils against which social policy ought to be directed. This report, often referred to as the "˜cradle to grave security' (politics UK 2001) written by a civil servant, William Beveridge was to be the most important document in 20th Century British Social Policy. In it, Beveridge identified the five "˜giants' or "˜evils' to be eradicated. The report was immediately popular, and in the belief that the labour party was the most intent on implementing its recommendations was believed to be largely responsible for the winning of the election in 1945 (Barnard and Burgess 1996).The five "˜giants' or "˜evils' were identified as Ignorance, to be defeated by free secondary education for all, following the 1994 Education Act. Set up the "˜tripartite' system.Squalor, to be defeated by the New Towns Act 1946, creating a ring of new towns around London. Also the Town and Country Planning Act (1947). Idleness, to be defeated by a commitment to maintaining "˜full employment' through the economic policies of J.M.Keynes "" "˜Keynesianism'. In 1994 a White Paper on employment was followed by Beveridge's book Full Employment in a Free Society. Disease, to be defeated by the setting up of the National Health Service, following the 1946 National Health Act. From 5th July 1948, all health care and treatment was free to all at the point of delivery.Want: to be defeated by a universal National Insurance Scheme (following the 1946 Act) and a National Assistance Act (1948) whose opening words were: "˜the existing Poor Law [of1601 and 1834] shall cease to have effect'. Also, family allowances were initiated from 1943. (Sociology Explained 1996 p.283) It was widely believed that the newly founded Welfare State was improving standards for all.The main structures of the British Welfare State were in place by1951 and a series of conservative Governments kept the momentum going from 1951 to 1964. In the 1960's, conservative and labour, despite other differences, accepted that the state should be the main provider of social welfare, including the growing amount of welfare in the form of social security and other cash benefits.The election of a conservative Government in 1979 has been seen as the first serious challenge to the social democratic consensus of the Welfare State. Although signs of change had been apparent even before the Thatcher era. Cut backs on spending began in 1976 under a labour Government. Hills makes this clear when he says, "as far...

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