‘From cradle to grave’: Social security and the lifecourse

Karen Rowlingson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Beveridge plan in the 1940s aimed to provide income security ‘from cradle to grave’ against economic risks such as unemployment, sickness, bereavement and retirement. Since then, however, the nature of the lifecourse has changed substantially and this has had an impact on the nature of the risks people now need security against. For example, as people live longer, the length of time in retirement is increasing and this has led to major debates about the nature of pension provision. Increased life expectancy also raises the issue of care needs and the appropriate way of paying for care. Changes in family forms, such as the growth of cohabitation, divorce and lone parenthood, introduce new risks for the social security system to deal with. This chapter: • reviews the changes in the lifecourse (and associated economic risks) over the last half-century; • reviews how the social security system has adapted to these changes; • examines whether the social security system is (still) able to support people from cradle to grave; • explores possible reforms of the system to reflect better the current nature of the lifecourse and economic risk, including Basic Income Schemes and new ‘asset-based welfare’ approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Social Security
Subtitle of host publicationIssues for Policy and Practice: Second Edition
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781447342762
ISBN (Print)9781847421869
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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