why was the new Poor Law introduced in 1834?

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  • why was a new Poor Law introduced in 1834?
    • 1. problems with the old system
      • could not cope with the pressures of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions
        • it made each parish responsible for its own poor, by means of a local tax, the poor rate
          • some parish may have to pay more
          • many parishes to make tax spread more even
          • resent poor- see who actually needed + deserved relief
            • pay based on how desperate relief ndeed
              • not just no. of children
        • it was not standardised, but varied greatly from parish. Some places put the poor in workhouses (indoor relief)
          • others helped them in their own homes (outdoor relief)
        • in rural areas, enclosure and mechanisation led to seasonal unemployment and hardship-hence the Swing Riots 1830-31
          • find jobs that last all year
        • in urban areas, wages for unskilled factory work were low, and economic slumps caused sudden waves of unemployment
          • teach unskilled new skills so they can do better paid jobs
    • 2. Unsuccessful attempts to adapt the system
      • the Speenhamland system operated in some parishes in the South.
        • It paid outdoor relief to unemployed or low-paid labourers, based on the number in the family and the price of bread
        • encouraged more children- increased population further
        • make all able bodied work- or no benefits
      • other systems were also tried, inc the 'roundsman system' where the overseer of the poor took paupers round the local farms
        • offering to to pay part of the daily wage to farmers who would take on extra workers
        • cost system still meant farmers would lose money for unwanted workers
        • make more work
      • these systems were better for the poor, but cost a lot and discouraged employers from paying fair wages
        • minimum wage?
    • 3. Aims of the Benthamite reformers
      • the Benthamites wanted to impose a much more uniform, efficient and low-cost system
        • too strict? - opposition
      • They wanted to deter all but the really desperate from seeking poor relief
        • lose support from those thief defer
      • in a typically Benthamite move, the Whigs set up a Royal Commission to inquire into the Poor Law. it was headed by Edwin Chadwick, a disciple of Jeremy Bentham
        • challenges gov


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