Lansbury, Snowden, the Webbs and the Origin of the Welfare State

A few weeks ago I had a debate on here with a commenter, who took issue with my statement that Nye Bevan set up the NHS. He pointed out that the modern welfare state had its origins in the Beveridge Report of 1942. This is indeed true, but the ultimate origins of the NHS go even further back. Henry Pelling, in his A short History of the Labour Party, points out that when Lloyd George introduced his Insurance Act of 1910, which gave some sickness, unemployment and old age benefits to some workers, his plan to base it on insurance contributions was criticised by George Lansbury, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and Philip Snowden in the Labour Party. Pelling writes

On the other hand, Snowden and the Webbs, together with Lansbury who had served with Mrs Webb on the Poor Law Commission were united in opposition to this view. Their aim was a National Health Service undertaking preventative measure for the benefit of the whole community. (p. 27).

There is much more to be said about this issue, and about medicine and hospital provision before the establishment of the NHS under Bevan. Nevertheless, the Labour Party was certainly one of the organisations demanding it. The Socialist Medical Association developed the idea of a National Health Service, and it became Labour Party policy in the 1930s.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Lansbury, Snowden, the Webbs and the Origin of the Welfare State”

  1. joanna Says:

    Hi Beast did you know that George Lansbury was Angela Lansbury’s grandfather?

    • beastrabban Says:

      No, I didn’t! 🙂 That’s really interesting. I did, however, hear a joke that Angela Lansbury and Paul McCartney were the same person. After all, they looked similar, and you never saw them together …

  2. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: