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STATE PROVISION FOR SOCIAL NEED:

Series Two: The Beveridge Papers from the British Library of Political and Economic Science

Part 3: Correspondence and Papers on Health Sciences, Old Age, Pensions, New Towns and

            Post-War Europe, 1919-1962

Part 4: Reports and Working Papers on Coal, Unemployment, Food Rationing, Manpower, Fuel and

            Social Insurance, 1925-1961

Publisher's Note - Part 4

In Series Two of this microfilm project we cover Sections III, IV, VI, VII and VIII of the William Henry Beveridge Papers from the British Library of Political and Economic Science. This project covers just those Sections of subject files with a strong bearing on the Welfare State, the Beveridge Report, Social Insurance, Health, Pensions and Economic Planning after 1945.

Other Sections, principally the major runs of correspondence and other material still restricted by copyright are not covered here. The subject files in this microfilm project are made available as follows:

Part 1: Early Working Papers on Welfare, Labour and Unemployment Insurance, 1902-1944
(Sections III and IV)


Part 2: Politics, Economic Planning, Social Insurance, Health and the Welfare State, 1944-1963
(Section VI)


Part 3: Correspondence and Papers on Health Services, Old Age, Pensions, New Towns and Post-War Europe, 1919-1962 (Section VII)


Part 4: Reports and Working Papers on Coal, Unemployment, Food Rationing, Manpower, Fuel and Social Insurance, 1925-1961 (Section VIII)

Re-examining the Welfare State in detail has become a major preoccupation of modern day governments in the late 1990s. Here we provide a comprehensive microfilm edition of all the private papers amassed by Beveridge on this subject between 1902 and 1963.

The publication of the Beveridge Report, in 1942, captured the public imagination and it was his proposals which set the agenda for post-war reconstruction. This Report enjoyed widespread coverage in the American press.

It made the following major recommendations:

  • a comprehensive scheme of Social Insurance including unemployment and sickness benefit, maternity benefit, widow’s benefit and pension, guardian’s allowance, retirement pension and other grants
  • a free National Health Service
  • a system of Family Allowances
  • training schemes for the Unemployed

There is extensive detail on all these topics as well as many documents on Beveridge's thinking in the 1920s and 1930s.

In the process of compiling his findings Beveridge looked in detail at many early attempts to pass legislation to make provision for social need. This included analysis of early steps taken in Germany under Bismarck, the work of the Webbs and the Fabian Society, legislation passed by Lloyd George in 1911, the US Wisconsin Plan and the National Resources Planning Board of the United States of America.

Above all Beveridge is best remembered for the beginning of the Social Services administration and the Welfare State in Britain, the formation of the National Health Service and the desire to tackle the difficult problems of unemployment.

Part 1 covers a range of papers from Beveridge's work with the London Unemployed Fund in 1904 and 1905, his visit to Germany in 1907, his study of unemployment as a problem of industry, his work on Labour Exchanges, Unemployment Insurance, to Manpower and Reconstruction in the Inter-War period.

Part 2 includes his correspondence as a constituency MP for Berwick on Tweed, 1944-1945, the General Election campaign of 1945 as well as all Beveridge's papers relating to Parliamentary affairs and debates, especially Social Insurance, the Children's Bill, the Economic Situation, Housing, the Family, Welfare, the Health Service, the National Insurance Bill of 1954, Provision for Old Age, Pension Schemes, Transport Problems, the United Nations, Disarmament and Europe.

Part 3 has a strong focus on Health Services, Hospitals, Old Age, Pensions, Economic Planning,
New Towns, Post-War Europe and the role of the United Nations after 1945, the European-Atlantic Group, along with material on the Crusade for World Government, Federal Union, the Parliamentary Group for World Government and papers on Broadcasting and Television.

Part 4 provides complete coverage of all the working papers, correspondence and notes for all Beveridge's Reports:

  • The Royal Commission on the Coal Industry of 1925, with papers for 1925-1930.
  • The Unemployment Insurance Statutory Committee of 1934-1944, with papers for 1934-1944.
  • The Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence on Food Rationing, 1936, with papers for 1936-1937.
  • The Manpower Survey of 1940 and The Committee on Skilled Men in the Services, 1941 with papers for 1939-1943.
  • The Fuel Rationing Enquiry of 1942, with papers for 1941-1945.
  • The Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, 1941-1942
    (the Beveridge Report), with papers for 1941-1961.
  • The Broadcasting Committee, 1949-1950, with papers for 1949-1950.

"The social policy that Beveridge elaborated in the Report is a skilful blend of measures and proposals that were in themselves tried and tested, familiar to people in all walks of life, and for that reason relatively uncontested, enriched by one or two somewhat more radical ideas. These more radical ideas might well have provoked controversy and opposition had that been suggested before the War... Beveridge's assumptions are quite breath-taking. First, there should be a scheme of children's allowances, to be paid to everyone with dependent children; second that there should be a comprehensive health care system; and finally that full employment would be maintained... Maintaining full employment must have sounded to many ears like an unbelievable pipe-dream, and certainly at the time of the Report no Government had accepted that it had either the duty or even the capacity to make this aspiration even a feasibility. But for Beveridge it was an assumption, a prerequisite for social security. Here Beveridge was being at his most bold, and it is arguable that it was these assumptions which became the essential foundation stones of the British Welfare State that developed after the War."


Bill Sillburn
Senior Lecturer in Social Administration, School of Social Studies, University of Nottingham
writing in The Beveridge Plan 1942-1992: Fifty Years On pp59-60
ed. W. John Morgan (Institute of Modern Cultural Studies, University of Nottingham, 1994)

Composition of the Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services (Beveridge Committee) at the first meeting in 1941:


SIR WILLIAM BEVERIDGE (in the Chair)
MR E HALE (Treasury)
MR P Y BLUNDUN (Ministry of Labour and National Service)
MISS M RITSON (Department of Health for Scotland)
MR G S W EPPS (Government Actuary)
SIR WILFRED BADY (Board of Customs and Excise)
MRS M A HAMILTON (Office of the Minister without Portfolio)
MR R R BANNATYNE (Home Office)
MR R HAMILTON FARRELL (Ministry of Health)
MR G T REID (Assistance Board)
MR B K WHITE (Registry of Friendly Societies)
MR D N CHESTER (Secretary)


Composition of the Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services (Beveridge Committee) at the first meeting in 1942:


SIR WILLIAM BEVERIDGE (in the Chair)
MR E HALE (Treasury)
MR P Y BLUNDUN (Ministry of Labour and National Service)
MISS M RITSON (Department of Health for Scotland)
MISS M S COX (Ministry of Pensions)
SIR GEORGE REID (Assistance Board)
MRS M A HAMILTON (Office of the Minister without Portfolio)
MR R R BANNATYNE (Home Office)
MR R HAMILTON FARRELL (Ministry of Health)
MR G S W EPPS (Government Actuary)
MR B K WHITE (Registry of Friendly Societies)
MR D N CHESTER (Secretary)
plus Representatives of the Trades Union Congress (for item [4] only)

Composition of the Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services (Beveridge Committee) at the sixteenth meeting in 1942:


SIR WILLIAM BEVERIDGE (in the Chair)
MR P Y BLUNDUN (Ministry of Labour and National Service)
MISS M RITSON (Department of Health for Scotland)
MISS M S COX (Ministry of Pensions)
SIR GEORGE REID (Assistance Board)
MRS M A HAMILTON (Office of the Minister without Portfolio)
MR A W McKENZIE (Board of Customs and Excise)
MR R HAMILTON FARRELL (Ministry of Health)
MR G S W EPPS (Government Actuary)
MR B K WHITE (Registry of Friendly Societies)
MR D N CHESTER (Secretary)

Other representatives were co-opted to give evidence as and when required by the Committee,
for instance:


County Associations for the Blind
National Institute for the Blind
Scottish Home Teachers
College of Teachers
National Federation for the Welfare of the Blind
Trades Union Congress
Industrial Life Offices Association
Prudential Assurance Co Ltd
National Conference of Industrial Assurance Approved Societies
Insurance Unemployment Board
Fabian Society
Family Endowment Society
National Conference of Friendly Societies
National Council of Women of Great Britain
Royal College of Nursing
British Dental Association
National Institute for the Deaf
London County Council
County Councils in Scotland
National Association of Local Government Offices
Old Age Pensions Association

A single paperback guide accompanies the first two parts of Series Two of this microfilm project.


A second paperback guide covers Parts 3 and 4.

 

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