Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Beveridge Report

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 13 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5428
  1. Robert Heys, retired consultant gynaecologist
  1. cloughsidewhites{at}

After a distinguished career in the civil service and then as undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour in Churchill’s wartime coalition government, in December 1940 Sir William Beveridge was sidelined to head up an obscure inquiry into the coordination of social services. This duty was widely considered a demotion, related to his poor relationships with influential trade unionists—Beveridge had been involved in drafting legislation to limit collective bargaining in wartime.

Beveridge too thought he was being marginalised and accepted the post with great reluctance, yet ironically it was the report arising from this inquiry that secured his reputation as …

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