Social security
in Understanding British and European political issues

This chapter explores the principles of social security in the Welfare State. The Beveridge Report of 1942 which heralded in the post-war Welfare State proposed a comprehensive National Insurance system which would look after people throughout their lives. The chapter reviews how social security developed up to 1979 and provides detailed description and analysis of the reforms and new attitude to social security under the Conservatives after 1979. When the Conservative party won power in 1979 the social security part of their expenditure commitments came under immediate scrutiny. An important part of the Conservatives' economic policy was the creation of amore flexible labour market. There is no doubt that a key element in New Labour's philosophy was to attack poverty in the UK, especially child poverty. The chapter also provides an analysis of New Labour's attitude to social security after 1997.

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