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Welfare State

Old-Age Pensions: A Typical Reform

At the time that the OLD AGE pension measure was passed by Parliament it was pointed out in this journal that its chief purpose was to save the rates. It was to encourage old people to starve outside the workhouse rather than go in and be kept at treble the cost by the ratepayers. Evidence of this fact has been repeatedly given, and to-day, owing to the enormous increase in the cost of living, the old-age pensioners are dying off like flies. Such paragraphs as the following speak eloquently of this :

    "'LIFE ON 1s. 6d. A WEEK.”
      "'If they can live on Is. 6d. a week each and don't get starved, a good many of us eat too much,' said the coroner at the inquest on a Bethnal-green woman aged 70. She and her aged husband had lived on the latter's a old-age pension of 5s., out of which 2s. was paid in rent. Occasionally the man earned an odd 6d. The doctor said that death was not accelerated by want."

Editorial: Who Cares Who Cares?

Stirring the public conscience became part of the entertainment industry some time in the early eighties. At first, unsuspecting viewers in leafy suburbs noticed nothing more harrowing than malnutrition and death thousands of miles away, and threw loose change at the spectacle. A vogue for tales of glue sniffing and dragon chasing in dank, inner city garages then led to terrible addiction to earnest debate among experts, a form of exorcism which suddenly made way for a string of fresh concerns.

Book Reviews: 'Southern Insurgency', 'Cut Out - Living Without Welfare ', & 'Defiance - Greece and Europe'

Global class

'Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class', by Immanuel Ness (Pluto Press, 2016)

The author teaches political science at the City University of New York. He has also been a union organizer and an activist in various projects in defense of workers’ rights. He has shown particular concern with the plight of migrant workers.

Why Beveridge Reorganized Poverty

Fifty years ago this month the Report on Social Insurance and Allied Services by Sir William Beveridge was published to widespread acclaim. Supporters of all the pro-capitalist political parties hailed the Report as the basis for a restructured and improved social provision for the working class after the war against Germany had been won. According to the veteran Communist campaigner Willie Gallagher there was no mistaking the attitude of the British population to the plan. He told the House of Commons:

    "The trade union movement wants the Beveridge Plan, the Co-operative movement wants it, the Labour Party wants it, the Communist Party wants it, and the Liberals and a section of the Tory Party want it. It is clear that the great masses of the people, as represented by these forces, want the plan."

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