What were Beveridges 5 Giants? How did they relate to the 1930’s and how far did his 1942 report go towards defeating them? This essay will attempt to explain and asses what Bevereidges five giants were and how they related to the 1930s and how far his 1942 report went towards defeating them. Looking at each of the five Giants individually I will explain if a how they were defeated. Britain’s provision of welfare underwent a massive overhaul in the middle of the second World War .
William Beveridge played a key role in these changes by writing a report which revised the social security system. It was determined by Beveridge that certain policies were required to combat the evils of society. They were referred to as “The Five Giants”. (Timmins 1996) Want – National Insurance Benefits (social security) A key factor of the Beveridge report was to combat poverty. A system was introduced for workers to pay a flat rate contribution from earned income to provide insurance cover in the event of sickness or unemployment. Fraser 2003) Ignorance – Free education for children up to the age of 15 Education for children would now be provided on a universal, free of charge basis. A building plan was introduced to ensure every local authority had primary and secondary schools. (Fraser 2003) Disease – National Health Service A proposal was drawn up in 1943 by the Ministry of Health for a National Health Service. This would be funded by national insurance and taxes. The benefits of this scheme would offer a national, free at point of use health, dental and optical service. Fraser 2003) Idleness – Commitment from the state to assist full employment Much of the Beveridge report was based on the dependency of full employment. He believed that poverty and unemployment were linked to a lack of information which hindered people in finding work. (Fraser 2003) Squalor – Provision of adequate housing to rent Most people lived in privately rented accommodation in pre war Britain. From 1919 more council and local authority housing became available.
As a result of this council housing became the fastest growing sector, providing homes and jobs. (Fraser 2003) It is plain to see from the policies above that a comprehensive welfare system offering benefits on a universal level was created from the report written by William Beveridge. However, it was still subject to criticism. These miscalculations and misjudgements meant the elderly, the disabled and the long term unemployed still experienced poverty because the level of benefits were too low. Fraser 2003) Beveridge’s vision was to have to little or no means-tested benefits, his idea was that very few people would fall into this category and it would only be used as a safety net. That was not the case, more and more people, mainly those on low incomes had to turn to means- tested National Assistance benefit. Beveridge did not fulfil his vision in this part of his plan. (Timmins 1996) In conclusion the Welfare State was created on the principle that the state accepted a responsibility to protect and promote the welfare of all citizens.
It must be noted that the system was designed to provide a national minimum, not reduce inequalities. I have looked in detail at all aspects to combat the “five giants “and the popular support when the Beveridge report was introduced. I have also looked at flaws in the system, however the cornerstone of the Beveridgian welfare system, was left almost untouched until the 1980’s. Bibliography Fraser, D. (2003) The Evolution Of The British Welfare State. Palgrave Macmillan. New York. Timmins, N. (1996) The Five Giants. Harper Collins. London