Britain’s welfare state is broken-backed: the number of claims is soaring and with them the welfare bill. Well over 22 million citizens already depend on means-tested assistance. Means tests paralyse self-help, discourage selfimprovement and tax honesty. Means tests attack the basis of independent citizenship and community cohesion and at the same time incentivise bad behaviour. It was not meant to turn out like this. The Labour government led by Clement Attlee, elected in 1945, aimed for very different results when it implemented the welfare programme set out in Sir William Beveridge’s report Social Insurance and Allied Services, published on 1 December 1942.