Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Letter

In my lecturer for Public health we had to write a letter to the Guardian editor about Beveridge and the Evils of Society and the  relevance of it today. I wish I could present this has an entry for a competition but hey, I am proud of it anyway. 

Letter to Amol from Rebekah about the relevance of Beveridge five evils of the society

15th January 2016

Dear Amol,

I am writing to you about Beveridge Report that was written in 1942 and the relevance it today. Beveridge wrote a report about identifying the five evils of society which are; want ignorance, squalor, idleness and disease.

Today, the society in the UK are far more educated, informed and enabled to choose and challenge. This was not the case in 1942 as people where allowed to leave school at the age of 15 now it is compulsory to still in education till you are the age of 18.

Even today we still have want, not a want that is about being selfish and greedy but about poverty that people have a little money to live on. In 1946 we had the National Insurance Act this was provided so people who are sick, unemployed, retired, widow and maternity can have supported help to carry on their life with benefits. However, this Act did not go far enough as the benefit as was restricted to those citizens who made 156 weekly contributions. We still have this Act this today and we also have many Food Banks running in the UK this is to support people who cannot afford food and they go to a Food Bank with a red voucher this allows them to have enough food for three days. Also many Food Banks provide cooking lessons which show people how to cook a healthy meal with the food they have been given.

Secondly ignorance, Beveridge made it compulsory to for children to stay at school at the age of 15 because too many children left school at 14 without any qualifications and went into low paid jobs.  Now it is compulsory to stay in school at the age of the 18 this also includes doing an apprenticeship for those people who want to gain money while studying and working. Also Beveridge invented a test for child to have at the age of 11 this is called the 11+ this determines which school they go to whether it is all state school or grammar school. We still have 11+ it is changed the name to SATS (Standard Assessment Test) these tests are given at the end of year 2 and year 6 there are show a child progress compared to other children born in the same month. There are three test that a child in year 6 have to do there are English, Maths and used to test science though the government has changed this in year 2009.

Thirdly squalor many people lived in overcrowded slums and there was a shortage of good houses. To deal the slum area and overcrowded the government concentrated on the building for the working class after the war because of this the government decided to build 200,000 houses a year. A decade on nothing has changed much we still have overcrowded houses though I must point out it is not because of English people as we tend to have two parents and one child if the parents have not got a divorced. The reason why we have overcrowded house is because of Migrants that are fleeing in this country. Though it is very common for people to live in an extended family where the child parents and child grandparents live under one roof this may not be the desired choice. Reason why this could be is because the house prices are expensive. The government now are aiming to build 240,000 in 2016. This target may not be met because of planning permission. In addition, lack of land and building on flood plains is not an option especially because of what happened in December 2015 with the trenchful rain and the river banks bursts and at nowhere to go as people are building on flood plains this is what caused majority of the houses to flood.

Fourthly, idleness was brought in because of the war brought unemployment that means the country was very prone to poverty. After the war, there seemed to be work for everyone as Britain rebuilds itself. The Labour Government somehow in 1946 reduced the unemployment to 2.5% despite the huge post war problems such as shortages of raw materials and massive debts. The way the government must keep fully employment was through nationalisation. Back to the present the official UK unemployment rate is well below the EU average ad the employment rate is almost at a historic high, idleness might not be seen as a major concern. Nevertheless, the figures disguise a serious problem under-employment. 8.2 million people, more than one in four of all workers are employed part-time, 2.7 million employment contracts are ‘zero-hours’ guaranteeing no actual pay, and 4.5 million people describe themselves as self-employed with self-employment accounting for 60% of jobs growth. With a record 4.2 million people working from home, these are growing concerns about social isolation and the loss of the ‘social glue’ of the workplace. Loneliness is recognized, as a key welfare issue with almost 5 million people saying televisions is their main form of company.

Finally, disease many people suffered from poor health because they could not afford medical treatment. In 1946 the National Health Service Act was passed and this was the first time that every British citizen could receive medical, dental and optical services free of charge this also includes GPs and Hospitals. These benefits where free at point of use, no patient being asked to pay for any treatment. Beveridge said, ‘often causes that want and brings many other troubles in its train.’ That remains the case, but the focus in 2014 is less on episodic disease and more on the 15 million people in England along who are living with long-term health condition such as diabetes, arthritis and depression. Together they are said to account for 70% of total NHS spending.
Yours sincerely,                                                                                                        
Rebekah L Elsdon

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