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Welfare and insurance legislation, 1946-1948

National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act, 1946

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1946/9&10G6c62

The 1945-51 Labour Governments finally dealt with the piecemeal steps towards state insurance in 1946 with the passage of the Industrial Injuries Act. This provided for compulsory insurance against industrial injury for all employees. Under the terms of the Act, industrial injury benefits were to be paid at a higher rate than for ordinary sickness. Compensation payments were paid by the state, rather than by individual employers.

National Assistance Act, 1948

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1948/11&12G6c29

In 1948, the passage of the National Assistance Act, which provided  basic social security cover for all Britons, particularly those who did not pay national insurance contributions, filled in the remaining gaps in workplace compensation legislation. The 1948 Act was not without its challenges, however, as S.O. Davies pointed out in 1952. Consistent with his attacks on workmen's compensation Acts throughout his career, Davies focused in on the inadequacies of weekly payments. ‘It is estimated', he began, ‘that more than 30,000 workmen of the mining industry alone are at present in receipt of weekly payments of workmen's compensation and there are many more thousands who have received permanent injury who have contracted industrial diseases before 5th July, 1948, who would have been paid compensation were it not for the fact that their post-accident earnings exceeded their pre-accident earnings'. His aim was to effect the transfer of workers from the old compensation acts to the new industrial injuries schemes. He gained the assurance of the government that this would be done.

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