FATHER OF THE WELFARE STATE?
BEVERIDGE'S defeat at Berwick marked the end of his hopes that he would be personally involved in implementing the Beveridge Plan as a minister in a post-war coalition government. It marked also the end of his brief career in the House of Commons. In the following year he was invited to stand again as an independent candidate for the Northern Universities, but was dissuaded from doing so by his Liberal colleagues who did not want to lose one of their few remaining electoral assets.1 A few months later he accepted a peerage from Clement Attlee and took his seat in the upper house as Baron Beveridge of Tuggal, becoming leader of the Liberals in the House of Lords. From this position he contributed to debates on the programme of legislation that enacted many parts of the Beveridge Plan -- the National Insurance Act, Industrial Injuries Act, and National Health Service Act of 1946 and the National Assistance Act of 1948. At no stage was he ever consulted by any of the relevant government departments about his Plan; but nevertheless many of his recommendations were acted upon much more swiftly and thoroughly than is the usual lot of ambitious social reformers. It is true that there were some important deviations from Beveridge's 1942 proposals. Family allowances had been introduced by the outgoing coalition government in 1945 at a much lower rate than Beveridge had suggested. Old-age pensions were introduced by Labour in 1946 at a slightly higher rate than in Beveridge's scheme, but with no commitment to a build-up towards subsistence. Approved societies were totally abolished (despite the fact that nearly two hundred Labour MPs had given election pledges to retain them as voluntary agents within the state system). Industrial assurance was never nationalized; and some of Beveridge's more innovatory fringe benefits -- such as the furnishing allowance on marriage, and domestic service benefit for sick housewives -- were quietly dropped. But the main structure and____________________
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Publication information: Book title: William Beveridge:A Biography. Contributors: Jose Harris - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 451.
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