chapter  5
Leisure in the Welfare State: the United Kingdom
WithJohn Wilson
Pages -100

Social democratic states like the United Kingdom have ‘mixed economies’ in which some aspects of production and distribution have been nationalized. In such regimes, support is given to the notion of the ‘public household’ which exists alongside the private household and the market; it is the agency for the satisfaction of public needs and public wants, as against private wants. In the welfare state, leisure also comes to be looked upon as an entitlement, a service to be delivered by the state, much like health care. The enjoyment of leisure is considered a basic individual right. Historically, political intervention in leisure in the United Kingdom has been chiefly the responsibility of local government. Cities were the first suppliers of, and exercised the most control over, public leisure services. The involvement of the British government in leisure services before the First World War was therefore extremely limited.