• M. A. Crowther
Part of the Studies in Economic and Social History book series (SESH)


The working class which entered the Second World War could call upon the resources of the state for material support more comprehensively than their predecessors in 1914. In part, the new provision was simply an extension of legislation passed before 1914: insurance now covered such a wide section of the working class that many members of the white-collar and middle classes expressed resentment, especially over the medical treatment which they found an expensive item for themselves. Some policy was innovatory, particularly in council housing and in a hospital system which relied neither on charity nor the Poor Law. The financial problems of the interwar years also increased the state’s reluctance to leave social policy to the localities — a reluctance which stemmed from political distrust as much as the attempt to reduce inequalities. In their tendency to centralise policy, interwar governments moved closer to the Welfare State.

Copyright information

© The Economic History Society 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Crowther
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK

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