A look at the new releases
At a time when the welfare state in Britain is a hot political topic – does it provide a valuable social safety net or has it become sprawling, bloated and unwieldy? – it’s helpful to have a historical view of how we reached this point. Chris Renwick, a historian at the University of York, here provides an insightful overview of the welfare state’s development, from the Victorian workhouse to the impact of World War II and the changes of the 1970s and ’80s. It is, by necessity, somewhat involved in places, but offers an important look at the ways in which government has attempted to drastically remould society.
“The welfare state was never simply a dull system of national insurance that paid out benefits to people”
ABOVE: The Victorian workhouse was an early example of a welfare state system RIGHT: Children talk to a nurse outside a new NHS centre, 1948