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Commentaire de texte en anglais 2002 Agrégation d'anglais Agrégation (Externe)

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Concours de la Fonction Publique Agrégation (Externe). Sujet de Commentaire de texte en anglais 2002. Retrouvez le corrigé Commentaire de texte en anglais 2002 sur Bankexam.fr.
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Agrégation externe – Anglais
Session 2002
Commentaire de texte en anglais.
Durée 6 heures
Labour ... looks upon social security and social services as the birthright of every
citizen, normally speaking without test of means. There will, of course, always be
special circumstances when an assessment of need is inevitable, but this must be the
exception and not the rule.
Labour, then, reasserts its belief in the development of social services democratically
organised to meet the essential needs of the whole community and in which the whole
community participates as a matter of course. It does so because it accepts the moral
obligation of making provision for the needs of the old and the weak. It does so
because it believes in the economic gain to the whole community as well as to the
individual concerned of public spending on the social services. And it does so because
it believes that as we develop our social services we can encourage a growing
understanding of our common needs and reduce the pressure of the narrow personal
acquisitive instincts of a capitalist society.
We recognise, however, that this aim can only be achieved over a period of time and
with the positive encouragement of a much closer association of the social services
with effective local democracy. It should be made much easier for all who want to do
so to help in the work. Much more has to be done to explain the work of the services
and how they affect each one of us as individuals. A responsible attitude towards the
services can be developed only if we can feel a much closer contact with and pride in
them, not merely as users but as providers, too.
We are proud of the great structure of social welfare legislation which has been
implemented by the Labour Government, but at the same time we must guard against
complacency, as there is still much to be done. The five giants have been subdued. But
the battle ‘freedom from want’ is not yet over. There is still much avoidable distress,
for which social action and social effort are needed. The social services will need
extending in the years ahead if we are to succeed in building a fairer and juster society,
and that means that they will cost more. However, social services are not the only
claim on the British economy at the moment. There are others no less important and
less urgent. We have to carry out our commitments within the United Nations
Organisation and contribute our share towards the efforts of the Atlantic Treaty
countries. We must play our part in the struggle ‘towards world plenty’ by building up
the standard of life in the under-developed countries. We must export more of our
resources in the fight to attain economic independence. We can only achieve all these
ends by greater production through the sustained effort of the whole community. If we
do not secure this greater output we shall not be able to extend our social services,
unless it is at the expense of commitments no less vital and no less urgent. The balance
of payments battle is not something remote that only concerns financial experts. It is of
day to day concern to all of us. Meanwhile we have to think not only of expanding our
social services where it is necessary, but we must also review our existing services so
as to eliminate avoidable waste, and get the greatest value for money. When
appropriate the services must be simplified, and overlapping between various
departments must be cut out. At the same time, we must not allow our welfare services
to become cold, impersonal or hidebound. These are the evils that standardisation and
centralisation can bring with them. Provision must always be made, in some way or
another, for the exceptional case, while opportunities for local action and voluntary
initiative must be extended.
We must also consider priorities within the main groups of the social services. For
instance, given the limited resources available, would it be better to raise the school-
leaving age to sixteen or to make provision for children to start in nursery classes at
the age of three? This, and many other problems of a similar character, have to be
decided, and it is the purpose of this pamphlet to consider some of the issues of policy
that must be faced in the future.
Many critics do not openly attack the great work of Social Welfare legislation of the
Labour Government. Instead they concentrate their criticism on two points. First they
argue that the Social Services cost too much and are an important influence on our
balance of payments difficulties. Second they suggest that comprehensive Social
Services cannot be provided without high taxation. Such taxation is undesirable, they
say, it reduces incentives and it removes from the citizen the responsibility of spending
his own money, which instead the State spends for him. In fact both these criticisms
are grossly exaggerated.
... The figures for Social Service expenditure of £1,896.6 million for 1949/50 and
£1,921.2 million for 1950/51 are not completely up to date. Social Service expenditure
accounted for about 16 per cent of the national income in those years and a fair
estimate for the present day would be about 17-18 per cent. A recent survey of Social
Service expenditure carried out by the International Labour Office covering over
twenty nations indicates that some other countries are spending a larger percentage
than this on Social Services. These estimates effectively dispose of the argument that
social services are swallowing up an unduly large part of the national income, and that
Britain is the heaviest Social Service spender. In particular it should be noted that
Social Service outlay, both by central and local government, on the widest possible
definition, ... accounts for less than half the budget of national and local authorities.
Moreover the amounts shown as transfer incomes are, of course, incomes which were
spent by the public in the way they thought fit and not by the Government at all. As
transfer incomes amounted to as much as 54 per cent of the national income in 1950-
51 only 11 per cent of the national income was in fact spent by the Government
directly on the other Social Services including food subsidies. Some may still consider
that this proportion is too high. We do not think so. Humane and extensive Social
Services are a safeguard for the democratic way of life. They further the principle of
human equality and they relieve distress and suffering. As such they bring with them a
positive economic gain to the community. Social Service expenditure is an investment
in human capital, the most valuable capital that a people have.
However hard we try we can only get a pint out of a pint pot. Therefore a large
expansion of expenditure on Social Services is only possible if we increase our
national income. But we must never forget that increased effort can only go hand in
hand with social justice. That was the secret behind the effort of the British people in
wartime and under a Labour Government. Our Social Services must be based on
principles of fairness that are plain for all to see. Where the Tories abandon the
principle of fairness we must be prepared to put things right. But we need to be ready
to do more than that. We have to look at our own handiwork in a critical spirit and
strive when necessary to improve it. By our Social Services we can secure freedom
from want and at the same time enshrine the principle of equality on which a
democratic Socialist Society must be based.
The Welfare State
(The Labour Party, 1952).
In :
The Development of the British Welfare State
Michael SULLIVAN, 1996,
Harvester Wheatsheaf, Londres, pages 70-71.