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Churches and Social Issues in Twentieth-Century Britain$
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G. I. T. Machin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198217800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198217800.001.0001

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Churches and Social Issues, 1945–1960

Churches and Social Issues, 1945–1960

(p.137) 5 Churches and Social Issues, 1945–1960
Churches and Social Issues in Twentieth-Century Britain

G.I.T. Machin

Oxford University Press

The Christian Churches had been thoroughly bound up with the British effort during the Second World War, and were equally involved with the victory celebrations. Some of the social planning of the war and before was realized in the rapid erection of a welfare state by the Labour Government of 1945–1950, with the wide agreement of opposition parties. The adoption of universal social security was the culmination and extension of forty years of intervention. The finished product provided family allowances, sickness and unemployment insurance, old age pensions, a National Health Service, and free primary and secondary education. The period also saw the opening of betting shops; legalization of abortion and homosexual practice; divorce reform and the questioning of marriage; widening use of a new contraceptive pill; the abolition of censorship of plays; and much more freedom of exhibition and speech in the cinema, theatre, broadcasting, books, magazines, and newspapers.

Keywords:   Christian Churches, Britain, Second World War, social planning, welfare state, social security, National Health Service, divorce, broadcasting, education

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