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By Robert Walker

Within the Beveridge Lecture, introduced on 18 March 1999, major Minister Tony Blair devoted his govt to abolishing baby poverty inside of twenty years. This booklet offers this lecture along the perspectives of a few of Britain's premiere coverage analysts and commentators.

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At the same time 21% of the population (not necessarily the same ones) had less than half contemporary average income according to the Department of Social Security’s Households Below Average Income analysis (before housing costs), up from 8% in 1979. In the future, what are seen as necessities will change again. It is not just that as a society our standards change as we become more affluent; it is also that what is needed to give people what last year’s Nobel prize winner Professor Amartya Sen calls ‘capabilities’ depend on contemporary society (see, for example, Sen,1992).

Many aspects of the Plan (though of course with many differences of detail) were to be carried through by government within a surprisingly short period – family allowances by the War coalition in 1944, social insurance, a national health service, and full employment policies by the Attlee government in 1946-48. For more than a decade thereafter it was widely assumed that poverty and unemployment had been abolished, and not until around 1960 did serious cracks begin to appear – with rising inflation, rising pressure on pensions’ finance, revelations by social scientists about the persistence of poverty, rising benefit fraud, and – rather later – complaints from feminists that Beveridge had ‘stereotyped’ old-fashioned views of women as their husband’s economic dependants.

Pensioners: a real increase in pensioner Income Support (renamed the Minimum Income Guarantee), with partial commitment to future earnings-linking under the pension reform proposals (DSS, 1998b), the new State Second Pension will be more generous to the lower paid and carers than the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme it replaces. • Low-income areas: the work of the Social Exclusion Unit in general and follow-up to its report on low-income neighbourhoods in particular (Social Exclusion Unit, 1998); the New Deal for Communities; increased capital for council housing repairs; Employment, Education and Health Action Zones.

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