chapter  2
Flaws in the Beveridge Plan
ByHermione Parker
Pages 398

The evidence from social surveys carried out during the 1930s showed that from three-quarters to five-sixths of poverty was due to interruption or loss of earning power, with most of the remaining one-quarter to one-sixth due to failure to relate income during earning to family size. On the basis of this evidence Sir William Beveridge ruled out low pay as a cause of poverty and drew the general conclusion that "abolition of want requires a double re-distribution of income, through social insurance and by family needs". Beveridge populated his visionary world with heterosexual celibates, widows and happily married, single-wage couples, where the wife's social security would depend on her husband, either through his contribution record or through his entitlement to means-tested national assistance. Beveridge's "Plan for Social Security", and his decision to rely largely on earnings-replacement benefits, started from a diagnosis of the circumstances in which "families and individuals in Britain might lack the means of healthy subsistence".