In 1945, Britain was faced with the task of rebuilding their nation in the aftermath of World War II and in order to strengthen the economy and ease social unrest, many issues had to be addressed for the first time in British history. There was a massive gulf between the rich and poor populations and poverty was widespread among the working classes who were often forced to live in slum-like housing. Urbanization during the period of the Industrial Revolution had caused mass overcrowding in working class areas, resulting in overcrowding and poor of sanitation where the poor resided. This resulted in the spread of diseases and as a result, the well-being of the poor became a concern for everyone in Britain - not just the impoverished. .
None of these were new problems; they had existed throughout the nineteenth century when Britain was comfortable with the concept of Laissez Faire. In this period, the British government chose to take a step back and let it's citizens 'get on with it'. It was not until the 1833 Factory Act that the government intervened and even then, intervention was minimal. It was not until Britain became involved in World Wars I and II that a flurry of proposals for reform took shape. It had become clear that significant changes must be made in the attitudes and expectations of the people of Britain.
In Victorian England, it was a common misconception that the poor were to blame for their situation; it was viewed as being a state of mind or the product of a defective character (Lewis 1998, p65). The Liberal government of 1906 "1914 had made some tentative steps in moving away from the individualistic ideal of Laissez Faire by introducing legislation to help assist the aged, unemployed and children. However, changes in attitude among society towards a more collectivist approach had put pressure on any post war government to make radical changes. There were many open wounds that the Laissez Faire ideal and war had left to be tended; these were famously outlined in the famous ˜Beveridge Report' in 1942.