Collectivism focuses on the government’s responsibility of providing health and social care services to society which is funded by taxation and National Insurance. This approach is an example of a political response to meeting the needs of identified welfare. In all societies there are groups which are more vulnerable than others such as children, the elderly and people with mental or physical impairments.
In some society’s, their care will be seen as the responsibility of the individual or their families whereas in others it will be seen as the responsibility of larger groups such as the local community or religious groups. Since the Poor Law was passed in 1601, the state has been responsible for the care of the vulnerable but there was still no significant change until the 19th century; the birth of the Welfare State occurred after the Second World War. In 1942 the Beveridge Report provided the foundation for the creation of a wide range of welfare services.
Lord Beveridge’s Report on Social Insurance and Allied Services identified five giant evils which are holding back society: Want (poverty), Squalor (poor housing), Idleness (unemployment), Ignorance (inadequate education) and Disease (ill health). He felt these needed to be addressed urgently by the state. The New Right approach considers the responsibility of the vulnerable to be placed upon the individuals and their families and that the state should only play a minimal role in their care.
This idea was not fully challenged until the election of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1979 as they believed that the state should play as smaller role as possible in welfare provision as it was mainly the responsibility of the individual and their family. The New Right saw state support to be creating a highly dependent society in which independence was dwindling. Mrs Thatcher saw welfare as producing a society which was reliant on benefits rather than a society which was able to take responsibilities for its own needs and plan ahead for the future.
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