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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 4 April 14, 1943

The Beveridge Plan — . . . Jerusalem

The Beveridge Plan

. . . Jerusalem

In England's Green and Pleasant Land.

What is the famous Beveridge Plan? What does it propose? Who started it? Once a week the press gives an account of this or that party's attitude towards it. "Salient," in view of the general ignorance on so vital a question, presents a summary of the plan.

June, 1941, saw Sir William Beveridge, K.C.B., etc., declared Chairman of a Parliamentary Committee to survey existing schemes of social insurance. Beveridge's brainstorms have resulted in a 100,000 word folio, the Beveridge Report, containing the most revolutionary programme for social security proposed in any country since Labour hit the high spots in New Zealand in 1935.

Broadly, Beveridge demands compulsory State insurance for every man, woman and child, irrespective of occupation, class, creed or income, in order to abolish for ever personal want or insecurity. Many existing friendly societies, insurance companies, etc., would be incorporated in a unified whole, directly administered by a Social Security Minister, assisted by competent experts and research men. Immense savings in administrative costs would obviously result.

The Plan provides:—
1.Complete and comprehensive State medical service for all citizens, covering hospital, specialist, surgical, pre-natal, post-natal and convalescent treatment.
2.An allowance of 7/6 per week for the upkeep of each child (except in some cases, the first).
3.Sickness and unemployment benefits graded to the needs of both the patient and his dependents.
4.Retirement pensions for all, beginning for men at 65, for women at 60.

Who Pays?

The plan is paid for:
(a)By weekly contributions of about 5/- per person, deducted each pay-day, and shared between employer and employee, much as it is in this country.
(b)From the Exchequer, to the tune of up to £500,000,000 annually, of which about £300,000,000 is already being spent on comparable services which will be superseded.

Thus, only an additional £200.000,-000 will be required from the Exchequer, a ludicrously small sum compared with the benefits to be obtained, and the huge sums which have been raised for Social Insecurity (i.e.. war purpose. London alone contributed 100 millions to "Warships Week.")

The scheme is practicable, set forth by a man with a genius for numerical exactitude.

In such a brief outline as this we cannot show how every contingency likely to impair the social security of an individual is provided against. Two exceptions are notable, however:
(a)the case where income is so low as to be insufficient for support (e.g., petty shopkeepers and retailers) and
(b)should mass-unemployment again blight industrial England. With modifications to remedy these deficiencies, the Plan, if acceplable would bring about a rebirth of England—and the "Merrie England" of old, Shakespeare's "Silver Isle," would become a reality.

Will it be approved? Can it be enforced? Or will the Plan be pigeonholed, and sabotaged by the action and intrigues of vested interests?

Watch the press for the rise or the fall of the Beveridge Plant