The United Kingdom is a Welfare State. In a Welfare State, the system of government enables the state to protect and promote the economic and social well-being of all its citizens. The basic objectives of a Welfare State is to foment the principles of equality of opportunity, non-discriminatory access to the wealth of the state and the state responsibility towards those members of the society who are unable to care for themselves or attain a minimum standard of living. In the United Kingdom, the basic idea of the British Welfare State has been articulated as the desire to care for all people resident in the United Kingdom "from the cradle to the grave".
The main objectives have been traditionally defined as the eradication of "want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness". Underlying these principles and objectives is the social consensus that it is preferable to live in a state in which all people in need are cared for by the state rather than in a community of people some of whom are poor, ill, hungry or destitute.
In order to meet these objectives, the members of the society collectively agree to contribute to a fund of money to assist the less advantaged members of the community. In this way, the responsibility for keeping all people in the society fed, clothed and healthy is the State's. It is never the sole responsibility of any individual. In the perception of modern democracies, many of which are Welfare States, the model state is one in which there is no poverty and in which all people can achieve a comfortable standard of living irrespective of their health, social standing or their physical or intellectual abilities. The British Welfare State as now exists in the United...
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...lowest unemoployment rates in the European Union. The number is approaching Beveridge's calculation for full-employment of 8,5%.
Although very comprehensive, the British welfare state has constantly fallen short of its main objectives. In the UK, the failings and weaknesses of the welfare state are compensated in part by charities, of which there are a very large number, A few examples are Oxfam, Save the Children, Shelter, the Lifeboat Association, the RSPCA, the RSPCC, Help the Aged, Dr. Barnado's etc.. So it cannot be argued that it was a total success.
Field, F, Inequality in Britain: Freedom, Welfare and the State, 1981
Hadley, R, Social Welfare and the Failure of the State, 1981
Sleeman, JF, The Welfare State : it's aims, benefits and Costs, 1973
Coxall & Robins, British Politics since the War, 1998
Jones et al, Politics UK, 1998
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