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Charley’s March of Time


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Director Halas & Batchelor
Duration 9min 2sec
Release Date 1948
Sponsor Central Office of Information for Ministry of National Insurance
Synopsis Charley questions the need for the National Insurance Acts of 1948
Text version of this film


The key principle underpinning the Welfare State was that it was universal. And that it would also be free of discrimination, free of stigma and paid for by everyone through National Insurance payments.

The National Insurance Act of 1948 was a comprehensive system for state-run social insurance. Flat-rate individual contributions, one stamp and one card were introduced. The benefits covered sickness, old age, unemployment and industrial injury. At the time it was said to provide 'a shield for every man, woman and child. against the ravages of poverty and adversity'.

The Attlee government introduced ambitious welfare schemes, paid for through National Insurance payments made by all. Huge effort was put into trying to explain to the public how their contributions were being put to good use.

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