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Welfare system in Great Britain

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The origin of the welfare state in Britain

Before the twentieth century, welfare was considered to be the responsibility of local communities. The “care” provided was very often very poor. An especially hated institution in the nineteenth century was the workhouse, where the old, the sick, the mentally handicapped and orphans were sent. People were often treated very harshly in workhouses, or even as virtual slaves, or given as virtual slaves to equally harsh employers.

During the first half of the twentieth century a number of welfare benefits were introduced. These were a small old-age pension scheme (1908), partial sickness and unemployment insurance (1912) and unemployment benefits conditional on regular contributions and proof of need (1934). The real impetus for the welfare state came in 1942 from a government commission, headed by William Beveridge, and its report on “social insurance and allied services”. In 1948 the National Health Act turned the report’s recommendations into law and the National Health Service was set up.

The mass rash for free treatment caused the government health bill to swell enormously. In response to this, the first payment within the NHS (a small fixed charge for medicine) was introduced in 1951. Other charges (such as for dental treatment in 1952) followed.

Welfare – социальное обеспечение

Consider- считать, рассматривать

Mentally handicapped – умственно отсталые

Orphans - сироты

Slave - раб

Treat – обращаться, относиться

Employer - работодатель

Welfare benefits – социальные пособия

Partial sickness and unemployment insurance – частичное страхование по болезни и безработице

The real impetus for – реальный импульс (толчок) к

Free treatment – бесплатное лечение

Swell enormously – сильно увеличиться

Charge – плата, платеж



  1. Answer the questions:

  1. Why was the workhouse an especially hated institution?

  2. When were the first welfare benefits introduced?

  3. What did they include?

  4. When was the NHS founded?



  1. Correct the false statements:

  1. The care of local communities was very good.

  2. People were treated very well by their employers.

  3. The first welfare benefits were introduced in the end of the twentieth century.

  4. The National Health System was founded in 1951



  1. Explain the following words in English:

  1. An orphan is …

  2. Pension is…

  3. Free treatment means…

  4. Unemployment is (means) …







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