From Beveridge to Blair: Reform of the Welfare State

“Social Insurance and Allied Services – report by Sir William Beveridge” was published in December 1942, and its proposals were passed into legislation by Attlee’s government between 1945 and 1948. As Addison put it, “the historian of social administration finds in the Beveridge Report the blueprint of the postwar welfare state in Britain”. Along with Keynes, Beveridge provided the Liberal powerhouse of ideas which Labour governments implemented, and Conservative governments retained, for almost forty years.

But as the century nears its end, could Beveridges framework – modified and distorted by the Thatcher administations as it was – provide the blueprint for the modern welfare state?