My history hero: William Beverage (1879–1963)

Tim Farron, former Liberal Democrat leader, chooses William Beveridge

William Beveridge was determined to fight the five "giant evils" of "want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness." (Photo by Hans Wild/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the October 2018 edition of BBC History Magazine

William Beveridge was an economist and social reformer, best known for his 1942 report ‘Social Insurance and Allied Services’ (the Beveridge Report), which formed the basis for the post-Second World War welfare state. In 1908, he had joined the Board of Trade and helped implement the Liberal government’s national system of labour exchanges, as well as a National Insurance scheme designed to combat unemployment and poverty. He was director of the London School of Economics from 1919–37 and served briefly as a Liberal MP from 1944–45.

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