British Social Services

September 13, 1951

Report Outline
Welfare Issues in British National Politics
Social Services and the British Budget
British System of Social Security
Subsidies and Services for Citizens
Special Focus

Welfare Issues in British National Politics

Problems of maintaining costly social services at their present level without impeding rearmament have become the center of a major political controversy in Great Britain. On the outcome of this controversy may depend the date of the next general election and the continuance in power of the present Labor government.

For Americans it is difficult to visualize social services as a national political issue. But in Great Britain it is natural that controversies about these services should be settled in a national election, both because the services affect every citizen every day and because they are so largely a national function.

The central government pays about two-thirds of the cost of all publicly supported education and the great bulk of the nation's medical, dental, and hospital bills. All costs of pub-lie assistance are borne by the Exchequer, and it contributes heavily to social insurance reserve funds. Food subsidies to hold down grocery bills are paid by the national government, and it makes sizable outlays for housing. Thus there is centralization of control over services which in the United States are provided partly by the national government, partly by states and localities, and in some fields by private organizations.

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