Main changes introduced by the Labour Government, 1945-50

The Labour Government introduced changes to try to make society a fairer place.

Acts by Labour government between 1944 and 1948 - Education, Family Allowances, National Insurance, Industrial Injuries, New Towns, National Health Service, Town and Country Planning, Children.

1944 Education Act

This set the school-leaving age at 15, and introduced free secondary schools. Pupils took an ‘11-plus’ IQ test that determined whether they went to grammar school, secondary modern school or technical school so the choice of school was based on ability not parents' income.

1945 Family Allowances Act

Parents were given 5 shillings (£7.54 in today's money) per week for each child after their firstborn. This was to help cover some of the costs involved in bringing up children, eg clothes, food.

1946 National Insurance Act

Unemployment pay for six months and sick pay for as long as you were sick. Maternity benefit. Death grant to help with funeral costs. Old age pensions at 65 for men and 60 for women.

1946 National Insurance - Industrial Injuries Act

Extra benefits for people injured at work.

1946 New Towns Act

Authorised the building of new towns at places such as Stevenage, Basildon, Newton Wycliffe and Peterlee.

1946 National Health Service Act

Aneurin Bevan's NHS Act came into effect on 5 July 1948. Doctors, hospitals, dentists, opticians, ambulances, midwives and health visitors were available, free to everybody.

1947 Town and Country Planning Act

This law set a target of building 300,000 new houses a year and 1.25 million council houses were built between 1945 and 1951. It also defined green belt land that had to be kept rural.

1948 Children's Act

Required councils to provide good housing and care for all children 'deprived of a normal home life'.

By adopting the ideas in the economist J M Keynes's book, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), the Government learned how to keep the economy vibrant by increasing public spending.