Freedom from want

Descriptive Map of London Poverty

Charles Booth's poverty map of London

Victorian businessman Charles Booth set out to see if poverty levels were exaggerated - and found they were worse. His map shows the patchwork nature of the capital: poor and rich live side by side, much like today. Booth's work helped establish the old age pension, first paid on 1 Jan 1909

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National Insurance stamps

National Insurance stamps

The National Insurance Act of 1911 set up the country's first unemployment benefit and national health insurance schemes. Workers made weekly contributions, collecting stamps such as these on a card as proof of payment, which enabled them to claim assistance if the need arose

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Beveridge report

The Beveridge Report

William Beveridge's 1942 report is a landmark in the setting up of a welfare state. But the building blocks existed long beforehand. His skill was to unite them in a comprehensive "cradle-to-grave" scheme that helped promote a spirit of post-war optimism

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