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Employability and Skills: Taking forward our National Conversation


Annex D The UK Welfare model in the context of other Welfare models

1. The current UK benefits system 16 has been around in some form since the early 20th century but the current structure has grown out of the 1942 Beveridge Report. The Report was designed to counter the five giants; Idleness, Ignorance, Disease, Squalor, and Want. It considered the whole question of social insurance, arguing that want could be abolished by a system of social security organised for the individual by the state.

2. Beveridge recommended the establishment of a National Health Service, National Insurance and Assistance, family allowances, and stressed the importance of full-employment. His measures were adopted and formed the basis of the British post-war Welfare State. Family allowances were enacted in 1945, and National Insurance and the National Health Service in 1946; full employment became government policy. Together, these developments created the welfare state, a system of social security guaranteeing a minimum level of health and social services and for the first time a national system of benefits which was meant to provide "social security" from the "cradle to the grave".

3. The UK welfare system is not the only system of welfare that exists . Differences exist in the balance of responsibilities between the individual and the state; for example between incentives to work and sanctions if work is not sought; and support to parents choosing to remain at home or to work. The systems in place in each country have arisen incrementally from past political decisions to suit the specific social and economic situation in each country. An independent Scotland would wish to explore other systems to learn from their strengths and weaknesses.