How Effective Were The Labour Reforms Of 1945-51 In Meeting The Needs Of The British People?


The Labour Government took over from the coalition government, which governed during the war. Now the war was over, the new government would have to take over and put the country back together again. They would have to try and meet the needs of the British people. And to do this would have to tackle the 5 great problems; want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The government would have to tackle these problems in order to help Britain become strong.


The Labour Government won the 1945 election with a manifesto very much similar to the one of the Conservative party. But even though Winston Churchill, the man people look on as the man who won the war for Britain didn’t get into power, as it was seen that the Labour Party were the party who would help Britain after the war.


This was mainly because people looked and remembered what it was like before the war under the conservatives.


The main proposals put forward by the new Labour Government were economic reconstruction and the welfare state. They would follow the areas outlined in the Beveridge Report of 1942, which would tackle the 5 giants: social security, health, education, housing, and employment.


But even before the Labour Party came into power, Welfare Reforms were past during the war. In 1940 an emergency hospital scheme was set up to help with the increase in needed medical treatment. A National Milk Scheme was also introduced to try and help the nourishment of children by supplying free milk to children. Also an extra million was put forward to help O.A.P and widows.


In 1941 free immunisations were made available on the N.H.S. State nurseries were set up, so women were able to go to work, and have their children looked after by the state. The Determination of Needs Act was passed which undermined the hated means test, and now meant that husbands, parents, grandparents and children were legally bound to help those in need.


Then in 1942 The Provision Of Milk and Meals Act was passed which stopped the stigma of the old Poor Law, and now meant that free school milk and meals were available to all, which was put in place to help the health and nourishment of every child. Following that a year later the Ministry of National Insurance was set up, and was to be led on to form national insurance as we know it today.


Then as an act to help lower the unemployed numbers the legal school leaving age was raised to 15 years old.


The Family Insurance Act was passed the following year, this was to help raise the birth rate, and to help families cater for their siblings.


After this the new Labour Government were to follow on from these reforms made by the coalition government during the war. They would have to prove to the people that they were the party to make “a better Britain”.


To do this Attlee (the Prime minister) adopted Beveridge’s 5 giants, and started with Social Security and the Industrial Injuries Act 1946. This meant that employees would have to make insurance payments, and this covered them for any injuries, as they would be compensated by the state, and meeting the needs of the British population for a type of payment as a result of injuries at work. The following month which was August would be welcoming The National Insurance Act 1946, which led on from the war time coalition government just as the Industrial Injuries Act did. This entitled everyone to unemployment, sickness, maternity and widow’s benefit, guardian’s allowance, retirement pension, and a death grant for funeral expenses. This in turn, was meeting a lot of the needs of the British population.


Two years later the National Assistance Act was passed, which was seen as a so-called safety net for which it concerned: the disabled, sick, aged and the people who looked after disabled and elderly people.


The reforms made concerning Social Security was seen to be a big improvement in helping the country, but as a result in the rise of goods, the allowances made by the reforms were being reduced in terms of buying power. As a result of this many people particularly elderly applied for