British Social Welfare in the Twentieth Century by Robert M. Page, Richard L. Silburn

By Robert M. Page, Richard L. Silburn

This significant thematic and old evaluation presents a transparent consultant to key welfare practices and advancements within the public, deepest, voluntary and casual welfare sectors in 20th-century Britain, outlining the dominant principles approximately welfare within the interval in query. As such, it bargains an efficient bridge among ancient and modern issues, drawing out many of the extra hardly articulated premises within the historical past of social coverage and illuminating the social, political and fiscal dimensions of its subjects.

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It is also noteworthy that many early Labour leaders did not disagree with the 'progressive' ideology of New Liberalism, only how, and by whom, it was to be carried out (Freeden, 1978; Pugh, 1993, Ch. 6). 24 British Social "Welfare in the Twentieth Century Liberalism in the party sense was in severe trouble after the First World War while Labour, although the main opposition party, never formed a majority administration before 1945. It was therefore the Conservatives who shaped inter-war social policy and did so largely, although by no means entirely, under the influence of the 'Treasury View'.

The growth over that period has been irregular, with a rising trend during the period of 'New Liberal' reforms before the First World War, sharp increases at the end of that war, followed by retrenchment. The early 1930s saw substantial increases, mainly due to unemployment, and abstracting from that, the interwar trend appears quite flat. There was a notable increase in the 1940s, although not perhaps as large as common perceptions of 'the creation of the welfare state' in this period might suggest.

The welfare state of the 1990s is not the same as that of the 1940s - even allowing for problems of definition; far less is it congruent with the prewelfare state provision of 1900. Nor, however, is it completely divorced from these earlier forms. Certain attitudes of our Victorian predecessors remain 32 British Social Welfare in the Twentieth Century embedded in welfare policies, and may even be experiencing something of a revival, at least in their cruder manifestations. This in turn reminds us that some contemporary arguments hostile to state welfare have a long historical lineage (Johnson, 1986).

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