This is a follow-on from my previous blog. It charts the changes in society since the Second World War and the introduction of the Beveridge Report recommendations.
The ‘you-can-have-it-all’ attitudes of the Baby Boomer generation turned welfare benefits into ‘ entitlements’. Part of the everything’s free, spend now, save later thinking encouraged by every TV advert. Saving was out of fashion.
This was accompanied by much more subsidised public housing and much greater liberalisation of divorce laws. The introduction of the birth control pill also changed the attitudes of young people to sex. The family ties of the previous era were gradually loosened. The Hippy era had arrived.
Marriage became an option not an obligation. So from then on marriage rates have steadily declined from close to 100% after the war down to only half that today. Birth rates outside of marriage rose from 5% in 1960 to 40% in 2004. Only 7% of children were living with lone parents in 1972 by 2004 that had escalated to 24%.
That significantly increased the need for more housing and also since many single parent families were relatively more impoverished, the demand for benefit support increased. To add to this unemployment which was less than 4% just after the War rose to over 10% by 1981.
In my lifetime we have moved from a society where only 4% received benefit and were generally frowned on, to now where 24% of people of working age are entitled to State support.
How can it be when society is so much wealthier overall, that so many people still have to depend on Welfare Benefits ?