Since the dawn of the 20th century, Britain’s social settlement has been recast four times: Edwardian New Liberals laid the welfare state’s foundations; Beveridge and Attlee built on them after the Blitz; the Thatcherites knocked out a few pillars; finally, New Labour’s third way crew redecorated again. Sadly, the cheery new wallpaper began to peel after the financial crisis. Many citizens were sorely exposed by the time the pandemic hit, and as the country emerges dazed and blinking from the disruption, the sense is growing that our shelters against adversity must be overhauled yet again. But how?
History suggests that, as the director of the London School of Economics, Minouche Shafik should be an influential voice in this discussion. Previous welfare state blueprints have had LSE fingerprints all over them. Beatrice Webb co-founded the university before becoming an influential force on the royal commission on the Poor Law…
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