Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Poverty and the Welfare State in Inter-war London

Author(s): Roy E Bailey and Timothy J. Hatton

Publication Date: August 1997

Keyword(s): Interwar Britain, Poverty, Social Security and Welfare State

Programme Area(s): Human Resources

Abstract: In this paper we re-examine poverty among working class households in inter-war London using the newly computerized records from the New Survey of London Life and Labour (NSLLL), a survey of living standards in London undertaken in 1929?31. First, we examine how the use of different poverty lines affects the number of households found to be in poverty. We then analyse the effects of the inter-war social security system in relieving poverty. Finally, we estimate what difference it would have made to the extent and incidence of poverty if the post-Beveridge social security system had been in place during the inter-war period. Our main conclusions are that the inter-war social security system had played a greater role in averting poverty than it has sometimes been given credit for, even though substantial poverty remained. The post-Beveridge social security system, if applied in the inter-war period, would have reduced poverty still further, but would not have eliminated it.

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Bibliographic Reference

Bailey, R and Hatton, T. 1997. 'Poverty and the Welfare State in Inter-war London'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.