Want: Still the easiest giant to attack?

McKay, Stephen and Rowlingson, Karen (2022) Want: Still the easiest giant to attack? Social Policy & Administration . ISSN 0144-5596

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12769

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Want: Still the easiest giant to attack?
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Abstract

Beveridge claimed that ‘want’ was ‘in some ways the easiest [giant] to attack’ and yet 80 years after his report was publi
shed, poverty persists and indeed, has been increasing in recent years. In this article, we review both the key features
of the Beveridge Report in relation to poverty and its implementation by the Labour government 1945–51, before
turning to an analysis of how social security policy has changed since then. We then review changes in poverty
levels since World War Two and attitudes to poverty. We conclude that Beveridge's plan helped to reduce poverty in
the immediate post-war years not least because of full employment. Nevertheless, poverty was not eradicated
even at this time due to low levels of wages in work and low levels of benefits out of work. Since then, a number of
reforms have generally moved further away from the Beveridge plan including a renewed focus on means testing and
cuts in benefit levels. These have also contributed to increased levels of poverty, particularly for those of working
age in recent years.

Keywords:Beveridge, attitudes to welfare, Poverty, social security, welfare history, welfare systems
Subjects:L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:46473
Deposited On:15 Sep 2021 13:38

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