"Absurdly good value for money": the labour movement and National Superannuation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


By the mid-1950s the postwar pensions settlement looked increasingly flawed, not least because a system crafted in the era of fair shares in deprivation for all seemed ill-suited to the increasingly affluent world of postwar Britain. In response, in 1957 the Labour Party published its proposals for a system of 'National Superannuation'. National Superannuation sprang from Richard Titmuss's analysis that the failures of the state pension coupled with the growth in occupational pension schemes for higher-paid workers were creating 'two nations in retirement'. Instead, departing from the flat-rate principle of the Beveridge national insurance pension, it proposed to bring the benefits of earnings-related pensions to all. In the process, it would build up very substantial funds that would be invested in the stock market. Labour's scheme did not go down well in the City and was widely attacked by industrialists and Conservative politicians as 'nationalisation by stealth'. But in crafting the proposals Labour also encountered significant resistance from the trade unions. This paper explores the nature of this resistance by the TUC and considers the implications of concessions made to it.
Translated title of the contribution"Absurdly good value for money": the labour movement and National Superannuation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNorth Atlantic Conference on British Studies, San Francisco
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

Conference Organiser: NACBS


Dive into the research topics of '"Absurdly good value for money": the labour movement and National Superannuation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this