The National Assistance Act 1948 is an Act of Parliament passed in the United Kingdom by the Labour government of Clement Attlee. It formally abolished the Poor Law system that had existed since the reign of Elizabeth I, and established a social safety net for those who did not pay National Insurance contributions (such as the homeless, the physically handicapped, and unmarried mothers) and were therefore left uncovered by the National Insurance Act 1946 and the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946. It also provided help to elderly Britons who required supplementary benefits to make a subsistence living, and obliged local authorities to provide suitable accommodation for those who through infirmity, age, or any other reason were in need of care and attention not otherwise available.
The National Assistance Board, which administered the National Assistance scheme, operated scale rates which were more generous than in the past. The rate for a married couple before the new service was launched, for instance, was 31 shillings ( 1.55) a week, and 40 shillings ( 2.00) a week when the new service was introduced, together with an allowance for rent. In addition, as noted by Denis Nowell Pritt, "In most cases where the applicant was a householder, the rent allowance was the actual rent paid."
- Pensions in the United Kingdom