How successful were the Labour Government reforms of 1945-51 in improving social and economic conditions?
From 1945 to 1951, Clement Attlee was prime minister of the Labour Government. He aimed to improve the Social and Economic Conditions. The main aims to improve the social conditions were: to create a fairer society and improve the lives of ordinary people, build on the recommendations of the Beveridge Report, and slay the five giants (Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, and Idleness). The main aims to improve the economic conditions were: fulfilling the Nationalisation programme and reducing unemployment. Labour had to recover from being identified with the failures of the 1930s. The Beveridge Report of 1942, written by William Beveridge, stated the five giants of evil and need to introduce welfare. Attlee wanted to build on these points. The conservatives wanted to try and find the money to fund this, but Labour found the money to pay for these reforms even with their economic hardship. The Labour Government passed a variety of welfare and social reforms through parliament, such as the National Insurance Act in 1946 and the National Assistance Act in 1948. The National Insurance Act provided sickness and unemployment benefit, retirement benefit, and widow and maternity benefit; this act covered most eventualities, but it was still crticised because benefits were restricted- many workers were not included in this scheme. The National Assistance Act provided benefits for people who were not covered by the National Insurance Act, but this scheme had the same problem as the National Insurance Act- benefits were set too low; so, many citizens remained below subsistence level. These acts slayed one of the five giants: Want. Want is involved with the needs of the citizens. Britain was already known as a ‘welfare society’; although, there were still differences in health and living standards between social classes and regions. Disease is another giant that was...
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