Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

The development of policy on family allowances and national insurance in the United Kingdom, 1942-1946.

Chapman, Richard Paul (1991) The development of policy on family allowances and national insurance in the United Kingdom, 1942-1946. MPhil thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (9MB) | Preview


A variety of factors contributed to the creation of the Beveridge Report, which, despite covert Treasury attempts to muzzle it, was published in November 1942. Beveridge exploited the terms of reference he had been given to the full and made wide-ranging recommendations for a comprehensive reform of British social security. When the Report was published it received widespread popular support. Following an initial examination by an interdepartmental committee of civil servants, the war Cabinet of the Coalition Government delegated the task of a preliminary response to the Beveridge Report to a Ministerial Committee comprising equal numbers of Conservative and Labour Ministers. Over six meetings between 22 January and 10 February 1943, this Committee successfully hammered out decisions on Beveridge's proposals which would attract the support of the major political parties. However, poor presentation and a Treasury inspired lack of commitment to implementation nearly provoked a major crisis during a 3 day debate in the House of Commons in February 1943. The enormous popularity of Beveridge's proposals ensured that, in the consensus ideology of the time, many of them would be implemented. Legislation for Family Allowances was introduced in the dying months of the Coalition Government and enacted by the Caretaker Government that followed in June 1945. The National Insurance proposals were enacted by the Labour Government in 1946. Structural weaknesses in Beveridge's scheme coupled with a lack of commitment to transfer all the resources necessary to fully implement it have led to its failure to achieve many of its original objectives. The various factors which contributed to the Report's genesis and implementation are analysed. The thesis concludes that there is little evidence of a consensus in ministerial circles in favour of reform of social security during war-time, and that popular support for egalitarian measures played a crucial part in their enactment.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics