Benefits and Health

At the start of the British Welfare State – the 1911 National Insurance Act – the medical help available was pretty limited.  Much more important were cash benefits for people who were unable to work.

National Insurance 1911A secure income for people who are sick or disabled is still very important. Repeated Government initiatives over the last 50 years to clamp down on what is seen as abuse of the benefit system have not been very successful. The whole notion of capacity to work has become problematic.  If Stephen Hawking can hold down a job then there cannot be many people who are physically incapable of work.  But not everyone has his intellectual capacity.  Denigration of vulnerable people has become very politically attractive.  Given that the great majority of those unable to work  have mental health problems this seems counter-productive at best.

Benefits and Health Seminar 2012

Background Material