Beveridge and all that
in Half the battle

Reconstruction dramatically took centre stage with the publication of the Beveridge Report in December 1942, thereafter becoming the leading issue in domestic politics and potentially a significant influence on popular commitment to the war effort. The cautious optimism generated by the Beveridge Report and the subsequent debate on reconstruction was complemented by a modest expectation that the trend would continue beyond the war. This Report proposed subsistence benefits for all within a unified system of compulsory social insurance. Home Intelligence concluded that the public remained unconvinced: ‘There is widespread suspicion of the Government's attitude to the Beveridge Plan. A great many, perhaps the majority, are convinced that it will either be shelved, mutilated, or whittled away, or else an inferior substitute put forward instead.’ It has been suggested that how people actually behaved was a consequence of their perceptions of the future.

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Half the battle

Civilian morale in Britain during the Second World War

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