Social Security Guide : The White Paper and the Beveridge Report Compared
1944-10-01 1944 1940s 20 pages 5. CHILDREN Children are to have less, the Government propose, than the Beveridge Report suggested. The difference arises partly from the Government's disagreement over the subsistence principle, and partly because they plan a great extension of school feeding...
|Institution:||MCR - The Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick|
London : The Social Security League
1 October 1944
5. CHILDREN Children are to have less, the Government propose, than the Beveridge Report suggested. The difference arises partly from the Government's disagreement over the subsistence principle, and partly because they plan a great extension of school feeding. Both the Government and Beveridge suggest paying benefits from the second child, leaving out the first, but Beveridge suggested 8/- per child, and the Government offer 5/-. This is because the two approach the problem differently. Beveridge calculates a figure sufficient to keep a child at the subsistence level, excluding any allocation for rent; the Government wish to leave ultimate responsibility for child care with the parents, and they say: — "The scheme here set out is not intended to provide full maintenance for each child. It is intended rather as a general contribution to the needs of families with children." (Para. 50). The role of the family allowance can be argued either way. Some people think it should provide full maintenance, others that it should, as the Government says, make a general contribution to family funds. The real difficulty in the Government scheme arises when the family goes altogether on to benefit. Beveridge then simply drew the first child into benefit, and, as his allowances were calculated on a subsistence level he made sure that the family should not be in basic want. The Government also draw in the first child when the family goes on benefit. But they draw him in at 5/-, a sum which, as they have already stated, is not intended to provide full maintenance. On this basis a man and wife and four children, all living on benefit, would receive £3 benefit between them. Beveridge calculated that even at the 1938 price level, 5/- weekly was not enough to keep a child. He says:— "Even without any margin for inefficiency in purchasing, this calculation yields at 1938 prices the following amounts as required for children's allowances to cover subsistence needs without rent:— 0- 5 years ... 5/4 10-14 years ... 8/3 5-10 years ... 7/1 14-15 years ... 9/- This makes the average subsistence allowance at 1938 prices for each child about 5/11 for food, 10d. for clothing and 3d. for fuel and light, or 7/- a week altogether instead of the 5/- which it has been common to assume in discussing children's allowances in the past." (Para. 228). When Sir William finally recast his figures to allow for a rise in the cost of living, the subsistence sum for children came, therefore, not to 8/- but really to 9/-. He then deducted 1/- in respect of school meals and milk. The Government include in their scheme the free provision of school meals and milk to all children in grant-aided primary and secondary schools. This will mean extension of feeding facilities to the 11,000 departments of elementary schools still lacking these, with any necessary additions in secondary schools. At present school feeding normally consists of school dinners on school days, and one-third of a pint of milk once a day, or sometimes twice. School dinners are not usually given in the holidays nor 9