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Physically disabled and old-age services

Services for the physically disabled

Because of the many injuries to civilians and military personnel during the Second World War, services for the physically disabled received greater attention. Recommendations of the Committee on the Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Disabled Persons were incorporated into the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act of 1944. The act established a National Advisory Council on the Employment of the Disabled. It made provision for individual assessment, residential care, maintenance grants and assistance with finding employment. Employers were obliged to engage a quota of disabled workers.

A Disabled Person Employment Corporation was set up in 1945 to provide sheltered employment in severe cases. The Ministry of Labour funded the corporation. The National Assistance Act of 1948, which established the Advisory Council for the Welfare of Handicapped Persons, obliged local authorities to provide services for the disabled.

In 1956, the Piercy Committee found that social services for the disabled were inadequate. It recommended further provision of social centres, transport and other amenities rather than the further development of employment services. The Younghusband Committee recommended the unified provision of welfare services. Following the Mental Health Act of 1959, provision of local authority services for the disabled became mandatory.

Old-age services

In the post-war period, services for old people were provided in terms of the National Health Service Act of 1946 and the National Assistance Act of 1948. The first gave older people the right to medical treatment in hospitals, and the second made it a duty for local authorities to provide accommodation for those who (through age or infirmity) were in need of care. Ambiguity between the respective roles of hospital and local authority caused conflict, which limited progress in development. The only further legislation in the 1950s and 1960s was the amendment of the National Assistance Act of 1948, enabling local authorities to provide 'meals-on-wheels'.


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