Allowances made

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I have no information about Lord Beveridge’s attitude to eugenics (Alastair Harper, Letters, 8 April), but when family allowances were introduced after the Second World War the only intentions were to relieve the hardships afflicting many couples after the birth of children, and to give the mother – to whom the payments were made – a small but reliable income of her own.

The idea of differential allowances to increase the birthrate among the educated classes would have been repugnant 
to the Labour government, and it stood no chance of being realised.

Ministers probably thought a more effective way of raising the general educational level would be to prevent the existing waste of talent by improving the standard of primary and early secondary education, and by discouraging the withdrawal of promising
pupils from school at the statutory leaving age.

Paul Fletcher