Sneddon, Nicola M.
Interest groups and policy-making: the welfare state, 1942-1964.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This study explores the views of the peak level industrial and labour organisations towards government social policy after the publication of the Beveridge Report in 1942. The reform of state welfare in the 1940s meant that employers and trade unions became more involved in the administration than in the provision of social services. The process entailed a greater role for the Trades Union Congress, the British Employers’ Confederation and the Federation of British Industries in the formulation of state social policy. This is a hitherto neglected aspect of their relations with government. Labour and business historians have paid little attention to trade union and industrial views on social policy after the second world war while historians of the welfare state have neglected the participation of these particular interest groups in the formation of welfare policy.
These concepts are herein applied to a range of areas of welfare - social security, pensions, the National Health Service and state education - in which the TUC, BEC and FBI demonstrated a level of interest. While being of some relevance in relation to particular areas of policy and specific points in time, these approaches have a limited function in explaining government consultation of primarily industrial interests on social policy matters. Corporate bias may help to explain why consultation took place but offers little understanding in those instances where it did not. A search for a wider welfare consensus reaching outside the political party arena is similarly flawed as the theory seeks to generalise an impose uniform patterns of policy-making where none existed. If the consenualists continue to adhere to the notion that the involvement of economic interests in policy making was a product of consensus politics, it must now seek to examine the impact of these interests on the policy-making process. In the same vein, corporate theorists might look to other policy areas outwith the industrial and economic sphere in order to explore the wider application of their findings.
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