To What Extent Are the Founding Principles of the Welfare State Being Met? (15 Marks) Essay

1225 WordsMay 7, 20135 Pages
The Welfare State was set up to make sure that UK citizens had an acceptable minimum living standard and were looked after “from the cradle to the grave”. After 1945 the Welfare State was created following the Beveridge Report. The Report identified Five Giant Evils in UK Society - squalor, idleness, disease, ignorance and want. The Labour Party created the Welfare State when in government from 1945-1951. Their traditional policies were based on equality and the need to redistribute wealth and resources within society. Labour Governments were usually expected to increase taxation to pay for better welfare. The introduction of the NHS was seen as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the welfare state. The health of people in the UK was considered to be the most important part of the Welfare State. No longer would the health of an individual be dependent on whether they could afford the treatment or not. In April 2011 Prescription charges were stopped in Scotland so that anyone no matter their age or income could get free prescriptions to help provide better health for themselves. A reason to suggest the founding aim of the Welfare State is still being met. National Insurance was expected to fund major benefits to cover sickness, unemployment, disability and old age. In practice, the cost of the Welfare State has become much greater than expected and it is now the biggest single item of public spending. Taxation has had to cover much of the cost. Many politicians now question whether a system of universal benefits is affordable. If benefits are targeted towards those in greatest need, the amounts paid out could be raised but the overall cost held down. However, this means making more, if not all, benefits subject to a means test. A means test is where all the factors in an applicant's financial circumstance are taken into account. This may discourage some poor people with

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