Chapter XIV
MAKING OF THE BEVERIDGE REPORT

I have no doubt at all that we know how to abolish want through economic insecurity and that it's in our power to do so as soon as the war ends, on one condition -- that we've won the war.

Broadcast on The Meaning of Total War, March 22, 1942.1


I.Commissioning of Committee

O N May 22, 1941, Mr. Ernest Brown, as Minister of Health, announced in the House of Commons that a comprehensive survey of social insurance would be made by the Minister without Portfolio, Mr. Arthur Greenwood. There followed, on June 10, appointment of an Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, with myself as Chairman. There were eleven other members of the Committee, each an official representing one of the eleven Government departments concerned. The Secretary was D. N. Chester of the War Cabinet Secretariat. The terms of reference required the Committee --

To undertake, with special reference to the inter-relation of the schemes, a survey of the existing national schemes of social insurance and allied services, including workmen's compensation, and to make recommendations.2

These announcements had a political and a personal background.

The political background was that the General Council of the Trades Union Congress for some time had been pressing the Government for a comprehensive review of social insurance.3 A deputation of the Council, received in February 1941 by the then Minister of Health (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald) and the Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Ernest Brown), had stressed particularly the inadequacy of health insurance cash benefit as compared with other benefits, and its inequalities from one contributor to another under the Approved Society system. They

____________________
1
Printed as chapter 3 in The Pillars of Security.
2
See Appendix A, Section 19, for announcement and membership of the Committee as printed on p. 2 of the Beveridge Report.
3
See Paper 3 of Memoranda from Organisations published as companion volume to the Beveridge Report, Cmd. 6405 of 1942. The quotation in this paragraph is from this Paper, p. 14.

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