The Beveridge Report signalled the birth of the modern welfare state. Now, with persistent levels of unemployment in the UK and a new generation of young people struggling to find their feet, it’s time for the Labour party to rekindle Attlee’s spirit of 1945.
In ‘The Road to Full Employment’, Liam Byrne argues that if we restore our country to full employment, we can afford to rebuild social security for 21st century Britain. By investing in infrastructure, raising wages and using a more effective local framework for getting unemployed people from all walks of life back into work, we can stop the incalculable waste of human life around us. We can reduce the deficit and put the ethos of ‘something for something’ back into social security.
This is an argument that answers calls for change. The welfare state is one of Labour’s proudest creations but we must reform the system for the challenges of today, building it on the renewed values of contribution, work, compassion, duty and dignity.