[Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India, supports 'the Beveridge scheme' for 'a general national health service'.] Typed Letter Signed ('L S Amery') to R. Steele, explaining why it is not 'in any sense totalitarian'.

L. S. Amery [Leo Amery; Leopold Charles Maurice Stennett Amery] (1873-1955), Conservative politician, Secretary of State for India [Beveridge Report, 1942; National Health Service; welfare state]
Publication details: 
On letterhead of the India Office, Whitehall. 15 March 1943.
SKU: 20911

A surprising letter from a Conservative imperialist and opponent of appeasement (Amery was one of only four members who remained seated when Chamberlain announced his flight to Munich to a cheering House of Commons, the others being Churchill, Anthony Eden and Harold Nicolson). At the time of writing Amery was a member of the government as Secretary of State for India. The Beveridge Report had appeared in November of the previous year. 1p., 4to. In fair condition, lightly aged. Writing in response to criticism of a Times report of a speech he has given on the subject in the House of Commons, Amery begins by stating that Steele is 'mistaken in regarding the Beveridge scheme as in any sense totalitarian'. He outlines the 'three parts' into which he considers the scheme falls, the first being 'the pulling together into a single system of insurance all the various disconnected systems which have grown up over the last thirty years. The second aims at shaping a general national health service which is simply carrying further on what Disraeli first introduced seventy years ago, and which the Liberals of the time mocked at.' The scheme in no way prevents 'the continuance of private practice'. The third part of the scheme concerns 'family allowances, a reform which in recent years has been advocated at least as much by Conservatives as by Socialists and indeed opposed by the Trade Unions'. The 'main object' of these allowances is 'to strengthen family life and to meet the danger of a declining and ageing population, a danger which threatens the very existence of the Empire'. Both 'family life' and 'the Empire' are 'matters that every Conservative is interested in'. He concludes by pointing out that The Times did not quote the part of his speech which stated that, 'while social reforms, if sound, pay in the long run, they may have immediate economic effects in the way of adding to the cost of economic production which cannot be met by a laisser faire policy of free imports or by failure of the Government to negotiate effectively on behalf of our exports, in other words the policy for which our Party has stood for the last forty years.'