By 1950 the final Rowntree report on poverty found that the position of Britain's poor had improved dramatically in the post-war period.
High levels of employment, combined with the fledgling welfare state, had helped eliminate poverty as the Victorians understood it.
The overwhelming majority of Britons could afford the basics of life and even some consumer goods.
But there were signs that the welfare state was proving a drain on the government's finances. In 1951 a row erupted over the introduction of charges for false teeth and spectacles.
The row led to the resignation of the welfare state's architect, Aneurin Bevan.