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Family Policy in Britain

3. Family Policy in the 1970s

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about family policy and its impacts in the 1970s, focusing in particular on: (i) the changes to family life brought about by the reforms of 1964-70, including increases in cohabitation and single-parent households; (ii) policy changes intended to assist low income and single-parent families, such as the introduction of child benefit and maternity leave; (iii) other changes brought in by the Labour governments of 1974-79, including the criminalisation of domestic violence.


In this course, Professor Pat Thane (Birkbeck, University of London) explores family policy in Britain since the 1960s. In the first lecture, we set the context by thinking about some key features of family life prior to the 1960s. In the second lecture, we consider policies introduced by the Labour government of 1964-70. In the third lecture, we look at the impacts of these reforms and further changes implemented Labour governments between 1974 and 1979. Next, we look at the policies of the Conservative governments of 1979-97. In the fifth lecture, we explore the New Labour years from 1997 to 2010. In the sixth and final lecture, we look at some important policy changes that have occurred since 2010.


Professor Pat Thane is Visiting Professor in History at Birkbeck, University of London. She researches twentieth century British history, with a focus on social policy. Her recent publications include Divided Kingdom: A History of Britain, 1900 to the Present (2018), Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth Century England (2012) (with Tanya Evans) and Happy Families? History and Family Policy (2011).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Thane, P. (2021, August 24). Family Policy in Britain - Family Policy in the 1970s [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Thane, P. "Family Policy in Britain – Family Policy in the 1970s." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021,

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