The Beveridge memorial lecture

At the Beveridge memorial lecture, we present outstanding speakers to carry forward his legacy, promoting the value of statistics to wider society.

The most recent lecture, in 2018, was given by Will Moy, director of Full Fact, the independent charity that tackles misinformation and disinformation. Will gave a lecture titled ‘Other truths are available’. Watch a video (YouTube) of the presentation.

Sir William Beveridge

Beveridge was an economist, adviser to Lloyd George and former director of the London School of Economics (LSE). He was driven by the pursuit of social justice and believed that the discovery of objective socio-economic laws could solve the problems of society. He was also our president from 1941-43. 

In 1942 Beveridge published a report that created a blueprint for the UK’s welfare state. HIs remit was to report on the best ways of helping people on low incomes. He found that Britain’s medical provision ‘fell seriously short’ compared with other countries. He highlighted huge inadequacies in provision for old age and the wider social security system.

He proposed that all people of working age should pay a weekly contribution. In return, the state would pay benefits to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed to provide a minimum standard of living.

The British wartime government that commissioned the report was a coalition with members from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal parties. Beveridge’s masterful use of statistics convinced people of all political persuasions to the macro-economic benefits of a welfare state. But it was the Labour Government elected in 1945 that began the process of implementing his proposals.

Past lectures

The RSS and Nuffield Foundation jointly staged an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of the Beveridge Report – the foundation-stone of Britain’s post-war welfare state. Rt Hon Alan Milburn, who then chaired the Social Mobility Commission, gave a lecture titled: ‘The Beveridge Report, 75 years on. Slaying the 'five giants': past, present and future’. (YouTube)
Professor Andrew Tatem from the University of Southampton, spoke on the topic of ‘Mapping progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals’.  
Peter Riddell, Institute of Government, ‘Better informed policymaking’. (YouTube)
Danny Dorling, University of Sheffield, ‘Fairness and the changing fortunes of people in Britain 1970-2012’. (YouTube)
Baroness Onora O’Neill, Principal Newnham College Cambridge, ‘Holding accountability to account’
Julian Le Grand, London School of Economics and Political Science, ‘The giants of excess: a challenge to the nation’s health’
John Hills, professor of social policy and director of the ESRC Research Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) Demography, ‘Distribution and the future of pensions in the UK?’
Sir Michael Marmot, director of University College London’s Centre for Health and Society, ‘Social inequalities in health’
Andrew Dilnot, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies Microdata, ‘Inequality and the future of the welfare state’
Sir Donald Acheson, ‘The Acheson report on inequalities in health’
Frank Field MP, Minister of State for Welfare Reform, ‘Then and now’
Professor George Barnard, ‘Rescuing our manufacturing industry – some of the statistical problems’
Sir Maurice Kendall, ‘Towards a sense of social purpose’
Sir Paul Chambers, chair of Imperial Chemical Industries, ‘Forward from Beveridge’
Harold Wilson, Prime Minister, ‘First Beveridge memorial lecture’
Sir William Beveridge to the Society, ‘Social security – some transatlantic comparisons’
Sir William Beveridge to the Society, ‘Post-war planning – the abolition of want and urban congestion’