The Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, led by Sir William Beveridge, had been tasked with undertaking a review of social insurance schemes. The final report, known as the ‘Beveridge report’, was published in December 1942. The report advocated the creation of a compulsory social insurance scheme that would provide a level of benefits without means testing in return for contributions. The insurance scheme would be supported by allowances for dependent children, the establishment of comprehensive health and rehabilitation services and the avoidance of mass unemployment (ie through central government action to promote employment opportunities).
Beveridge identified five ‘giants’ that society needed to tackle, namely want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. Though widely considered a founding father of the NHS, he said little about health services, seeing them as a means to a productive economy.