1945 revisited: time to re-think the Welfare State

Covid 19 has caused the biggest upheaval in our lives since World War 2.

World War 2 caused people to think radically and enabled the full development of the Welfare State.

We now need to re-design the Welfare State for a changed world.

As a 75-year-old, the Welfare State has been there for me from cradle to (near to?) grave.

But the Welfare State has been eroded over the years and no longer meets the needs of many people.

The Covid 19 experience has shown up many of its deficiencies, and these impact worst on women.

The post-World War 2 Welfare State was inevitably rooted in its time.

Initially there was too little input from women, who were being sent back home after the war and expected to care for others. Men’s wages then reflected their “breadwinner” role.

Developments since WW2, sometimes aimed at improving opportunities for women, have made life more difficult for them. The need for a mobile workforce has led to the dispersal of the local extended family which once provided mutual support. There is now massive pressure on the nuclear family unit, often now struggling to cope.

Support to individuals and families now needs to be provided in other ways, and not just when they are “failing.”

The concept of the 5 giants resulted in areas of need being treated in separate “silos” – but they are all connected.

The new Welfare State should provide a more holistic system of support “from cradle to grave”.

My proposal 2 explains what might change in the way families with children are supported.




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