Discussion paper

DP48 Unemployment, Health and Welfare During the Depression

Were cash benefits and welfare services available to the unemployed sufficient to protect them from ill-health? Recent reappraisals have tended to magnify the influence of welfare provision. The present review draws on hitherto unexploited, confidential reports of the Ministry of Health and Board of Education, to point out that expert witnesses were increasingly concerned that unemployment relief and social services were inadequate to meet the needs of the community in 'Special Areas'. It is argued that the value of cash benefits was undermined by operation of the means test, and that welfare services were most inadequate where the need was greatest.


Webster, C (1985), “DP48 Unemployment, Health and Welfare During the Depression”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 48. https://cepr.org/publications/dp48