Social Security and Poverty

  • Robert East
Chapter
Part of the Macmillan Law Masters book series (PMLM)

Abstract

Social security is concerned with the provision of financial support to those with problems of financial hardship. Twentieth-century Britain has seen the emergence of the welfare state whereby the government plays an active role in promoting social welfare by providing cash benefits and benefits in kind. The latter include the provision of health and medical facilities as well as schooling, whereas cash benefits most obviously embrace social security benefits provided to those deemed to require them. The objectives of social security, like those of the welfare state in general, are diverse with different protagonists advocating different aspirations. These objectives range from promoting greater economic equality by redistributing resources from the rich, via taxation, to the poor in the form of social security benefits to facilitating people to provide more effectively for their own needs by requiring contributions to be paid by working individuals in order to finance benefits when they are not working, e.g. when sick, unemployed or in old age. However, the most widely supported objective of a system of social security is to provide a minimum standard of living below which no one should fall. Support for this, although their motives for so doing differed, has ranged from Anthony Crosland on the left to Sir William Beveridge and on to right-wing thinkers such as Hayek. As such, the provision of social security benefits has had, as a central aim, the relief of poverty.

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Copyright information

© Robert East 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert East
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of GlamorganUK

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