Jameel Hampton's book Disability and the Welfare State in Britain, provides a historical examination of disability welfare in the UK. Using archival information the book aims to historically contextualise disability in the British welfare state from 1948 to 1979. Hampton demonstrates the difficulties and exclusion disabled people encountered in trying to gain welfare throughout this period, which counters the myths that disabled people have easy access to welfare. With the current welfare changes taking place in the UK, this book is a timely and relevant contribution to Disability Studies and History and Policy.

The book is made up of eight chapters, with chapters three to six providing a chronological account of changes to disability welfare under different British governments. The beginning of each chapter comes complete with an informative timeline, which aids in setting each chapter. Throughout, Hampton provides a detailed examination of role of the Labour and Conservative parties in shaping disability welfare. The book engages with numerous issues that are popular within disability studies, such as the reliance on charities, which provides new opportunities for research and for raising questions in the classroom.

It is also interesting to see the media's influence in shaping disability welfare. The book exposes the media's historical attitude, which conflicts with the British media's current portrayal of benefit claimants. No comparison is made, but it is easy to see in Hampton's analysis of the media, that it was a driving force in making governments provide better welfare, unlike today where propaganda is used to take away disability benefits. Perhaps this book can act as a reminder to the media in their role in aiding to provide the same disability welfare that they are now aiding in taking away?

What is most evident is that whilst disability welfare is perceived to accommodate for all disabled people, it is in fact exclusionary for many disabled people. Hampton makes this very clear and demonstrates in number of cases how numerous disabled people have been purposely denied disability welfare. What this book makes apparent is the notion that disability welfare is constructed by hierarchies. For example, ex-servicemen are seen as more deserving than those who have acquired their disabilities in other ways. What is also made clear is the various governments, particularly the Conservative government's focus on the 'most needy'. Although Hampton does not explain who is classed as the most needy, this historical claim also resonates with the UK's current government who is justifying cuts to disability welfare by claiming they want to support the 'most needy', in other words to support as few as possible without seeming uncompassionate. A deeper engagement with what is meant by this and why only the most needy are seen as deserving would make this book a much more relevant piece within disability studies.

The book provides a detailed analysis of key campaigners, such as the Disablement Income Group (DIG), Megan Du Boisson and The Thalidomide Campaign in the quest for better disability welfare. Hampton demonstrates the important work of the DIG in advocating for better disability support that includes a wider range of claimants. However, there is limited or no reference to the advocacy work of the Disabled People's Movement and Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) (UPIAS is given scant attention to in chapter 7). It is in Chapter 5 that Hampton makes evident that disabled people were becoming an increasingly recognised disadvantaged group. Yet without reference to particular advocacy groups, there is a lack of recognition of the work of prominent disabled people of that time, including Paul Hunt, in creating this recognition.

Whilst there is somewhat of an interdisciplinary approach, between history, policy and Disability Studies, the latter seems to be neglected. The neglect of Disability Studies is evident in some problematic errors, such as the use of terms including 'wheelchair bound'. What is also missing, which Hampton makes clear, are the voices of disabled people. Whilst the author includes reference to advocates such as Megan Du Boisson, it certainly seems as a missed opportunity to strengthen the book. Whilst some advocates are mentioned, what also made me particularly uncomfortable is Hampton's discussion of the children with thalidomide-related impairment. For example, the book states, 'David Mason, the father of a limbless thalidomide victim (p.165)'. The name of David's daughter is Louise, which I think would have been a more respectable reference to make. It is references such as this that sometimes makes the book seem an uneasy fit within Disability Studies. However, I would use some of these errors to make students think about how we speak about disability.

Despite some of the uneasiness within the case study of 'children with Thalidomide', it does make for an informative read. This part in particular demonstrates how those who acquired their impairments, such as through pharmaceutical negligence, seemed more deserving of state support, whilst those with similar impairments, were not. This is further strengthened in chapter 6, where Hampton draws on the case of Jimmy Martin. The chapter shows how Jimmy, a boy of 10, is denied state welfare despite having severe physical impairments. Again, how certain disabled people are represented in the media can be used as a topic of discussion in the classroom, by getting students to think about how disability is conceived and who is deserving of support.

This book demonstrates how disability welfare has not been easy to obtain. It should act as a historical warning for disabled people who struggled to achieve access to appropriate welfare, and who are losing disability benefits due to neoliberal austerity. Of course, neoliberal austerity is not only happening in the UK, but many other western societies, making this book a relevant addition to the current fight against the dismantling of the welfare state.

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