Liam Byrne delivers third Beveridge lecture at the SMF

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Secretary of state for Work and Pensions, has today delivered a lecture marking the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report.

In the third of three lectures inspired by Beveridge’s seminal report on the welfare state, Liam Byrne looked at how policymakers can revive the principle of social insurance so that the system pays out if an individual has paid in. In a wide-ranging lecture at the SMF’s offices in Westminster, Liam Byrne said:

“I believe we should renew the something for something bargain that gave the Beveridge report such a wide appeal for working people. And today, I want to show how the contributory principle can be not murdered; but modernised for new times.”

Byrne criticised the current Government’s promised welfare “revolution”, claiming that working people were not getting a fair deal from the system:

“The tragedy is that to pay for this crumbling revolution, the government is reducing the welfare state to a ‘money for nothing’ deal for working people.

“It’s what Brendan Barber calls the ‘nothing for something’ problem. Working people pay in. But they get nothing out.”

The way to revive Beveridge’s contributory principle, Byrne said, is to “reward the kind of behaviour that is the foundation of a decent society: working hard; caring for others; saving for the future.” He set out policy ideas to achieve this, including improved childcare, a job guarantee scheme and reform of private pensions.

The event was chaired by SMF Director Ian Mulheirn.


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