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By Ken Judge (eds.)

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When, for instance, prescription charges were introduced in 1952 at a shilling for each prescription form doctors began to write more prescriptions on each form. Martin and Williams calculated that in the following five years this saved patients about £21- million. 3 In 1956 further changes were introduced in order to close this loophole. The charge was to be a shilling for each item: whereupon doctors began to increase the amounts in each item prescribed. 4 The particular nature of the doctor-patient relationship appears to have produced a tax-avoidance response.

41 The dissenters argued that there were five reasons for introducing charges. First, shortage of financial resources was such that there was no other way in which nursery education would be expanded. Second, since parents were becoming more affluent (and nursery schools enabled mothers to go out to work and add to family income) modest charges were not out of place. Third, since nursery education is not compulsory the community at large should not be asked to foot the bill; in particular, 'not to charge would ...

They relieve a large proportion of the population from having to bear the brunt of a charge. The actual criteria for specifying exempt groups are, therefore, of the utmost importance, not least because they provide clues to some 38 Pricing the Social Services of the underlying ideologies, beliefs and unconsidered assumptions which influence social policies. Typically, the exempt groups are the 'dependent' or the poor. Hence, we frequently excuse the elderly as well as the young from paying for social services.

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