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Breadline Britain
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Breadline Britain
Birth of NHS

Championed by Labour minister, Aneurin Bevan, plans for the National Health Service were approved by Parliament in 1946 after months of wrangling with doctors' leaders.

The "free and comprehensive" health service came into being two years later, although the first hospital-building under the NHS did not begin until the late 1950s.

The Poor Law was also abolished in 1948. Compulsory national insurance contributions began to cover unemployment, sickness, maternity, widows, old age benefits and funeral grants.

For those not covered by national insurance, the National Assistance Act provided means-tested payments.

Aneurin Bevan visiting a hospital ward
Aneurin Bevan was the architect of the National Health Service
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