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Welfare State

The Welfare State was the result of the William Beveridge Report in 1942, which identified five 'Giant Evils' in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease.

A series of changes was put in place to deal with these 'Giant Evils' after the Second World War. The changes meant that the government recognised the responsibility to care for the people of Britain 'from the cradle to the grave' (some prefer 'from the womb to the tomb'!). The Welfare State was a commitment to health (in 1948 was created the National Health Service), education, employment and social security.

The classic Welfare State period lasted from approximately 1945 to the 1970s, although many features of it remain today. The British Welfare State is unique in that everyone has free access to a family doctor and most people get free medical prescriptions and treatment.

Since the 1980s the government has begun to reduce some provision: for example, free eye tests for all have now been stopped and prescription charges for drugs have constantly risen since they were first introduced in 1951. Providing a Welfare State is still a basic principle of government policy in Britain today.

See also


Welfare State[?] are a UK based performance art theatre group.



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