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National Insurance and reform

The National Insurance Bill

These decisions were incorporated into the National Insurance Bill, enacted on 1 August 1946 and implemented from 5 July 1948. Unemployment was low through the 1950s to the early 1960s. The benefit system therefore received little attention, with only minor adjustments to the regulations. In 1956, the government attempted to rationalise the regulations in regard to short-time working. During the early 1960s, the Conservative government considered linking the amount of unemployment benefit paid to earnings. Ministers hoped that this would increase labour mobility.

Short-term benefit reform

After victory in 1964, Labour contemplated a reform of short-term benefits. The reform was to include earnings-related unemployment, and paid at a rate of one third of average previous earnings. This was in addition to the flat-rate benefits, however, the total benefit paid would not exceed 85 per cent of previous weekly earnings. These short-term benefits were to be paid for no longer than six months, and there was to be a small increase in the level of contributions by workers and employers.