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The Welfare State In The United Kingdom

1960 words - 8 pages

The Welfare State in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a Welfare State. In a Welfare State, the system of government enables the state to protect and promote the economic and social well-being of all its citizens. The basic objectives of a Welfare State is to foment the principles of equality of opportunity, non-discriminatory access to the wealth of the state and the state responsibility towards those members of the society who are unable to care for themselves or attain a minimum standard of living. In the United Kingdom, the basic idea of the British Welfare State has been articulated as the desire to care for all people resident in the United Kingdom "from the cradle to the grave".
The main objectives have been traditionally defined as the eradication of "want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness". Underlying these principles and objectives is the social consensus that it is preferable to live in a state in which all people in need are cared for by the state rather than in a community of people some of whom are poor, ill, hungry or destitute.

In order to meet these objectives, the members of the society collectively agree to contribute to a fund of money to assist the less advantaged members of the community. In this way, the responsibility for keeping all people in the society fed, clothed and healthy is the State's. It is never the sole responsibility of any individual. In the perception of modern democracies, many of which are Welfare States, the model state is one in which there is no poverty and in which all people can achieve a comfortable standard of living irrespective of their health, social standing or their physical or intellectual abilities. The British Welfare State as now exists in the United Kingdom dates from 1945, that is, from the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).

The Welfare State was introduced by the Conservative government which, under the leadership of Winston Churchill, passed the Family Allowance Act. This Act, together with many others concerning social welfare, had first been proposed in the Beveridge Report which had been published three years previously, in 1942.Beveridge was born in Rangpur, India. He was the son of a British civil servant and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. He became interested in unemployment in 1903 and in Unemployment: A Problem of Industry (1909), he argued that unemployment was caused by the way in which industry was organised. Beveridge was strongly influenced by the thinking of John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), the English economist. Keynesian economics argued that economic recessions can be overcome by governmental policies aimed at full employment.

Keynesian economics - if the working population was paid more, then it would have more money to buy more which would, in turn, generate greater demand on industry and thereby greater economic wealth with the result that more jobs would be provided to meet this demand.
This philosophy has been put...

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