The State of Welfare

The State of Welfare




William Beveridge’s 1942 report, Social Insurance and Allied States, identified five “giants” negatively affecting society’s poorest: disease, squalor, ignorance, want and idleness. To combat them, Beveridge proposed a radical solution: National Insurance.

People of working age would pay a weekly contribution in exchange for access to universal credit in times of need such as unemployment benefit, free healthcare and child benefit. Adopted by all main political parties, many of these groundbreaking suggestions were implemented by Labour following their victory in 1945.

Now, 70 years after the birth of the welfare state, Jane Garvey and Julian Worricker examine its impact on our society in this three-hour programme and ask whether it’s sustainable in the current climate — and whether it’s helpful to those it’s designed to support.


A live investigation into the welfare system, 70 years after William Beveridge's report Social Insurance and the Allied Services. Jane Garvey and Julian Worricker examine some myths about the publication and whether the current structure is still affordable or helpful to those it was designed to assist.