- welfare state
- The system of social welfare the origins of which can be traced back to the Liberal reforms of 1906–11 but which was really created by Labour after World War Two, as its response to the Beveridge Report of 1942. Via the welfare state, the Government accepts responsibility for the welfare of its citizens with regard to education, health, housing and social security, much of the money for such provision coming from taxation. Key Labour measures included the creation of the National Health Service and the introduction of the National Insurance scheme, which came into effect on what was designated welfare state day (5 July 1948).For several years, most politicians of all parties came to accept the desirability and popularity of the welfare state and especially of the National Health Service, including even some Conservative doubters who felt that it undermined personal initiative and responsibility. In the 1970s, the New Right became increasingly and vocally critical of a system that was said to encourage a ‘dependency culture’, as well as being wasteful and excessively costly because of the universality of the benefits paid out. Since the 1980s, ministers of both parties have sought to curb spending and have used the language of remodelling welfare provision to make it more attuned to the needs of a more affluent and healthy society. Similar systems of welfare have been under attack in other European countries once noted for the generosity of their provision.
Glossary of UK Government and Politics . 2013.