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Key people
Charles Booth
Successful businessman who thought that the reports on poverty in Britain were exaggerated.
Collected lots of information about the condition of the poor in London and found the richest
often lived only a few feet away from the poorest. He found out only 1% of the population were
undeserving poor but 30% were under the poverty line.
Seebohm Rowntree
Head of the Rowntree confectionary company in York. Committed social reformer. He found out
that the main causes of poverty were death, old age, low wages etc. He also created a graph
showing people fluctuated around the poverty line throughout their life. His work made a big
impact as he was so rich.
John Galt
He worked as a missionary helping the poor in the east end. He was a keen photographer and
showed his images of poverty in meetings with middle class people. It proved that poor people
worked hard for low wages.…read more

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Why did the liberals introduce their reforms?
The social reformers.
Social reformers such as Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree put pressure on the
government to help the poor. Rowntree had been a liberal supporter all his life and was friends
with a leading liberal MP. He also owned The Nation and The Daily News.
Increasing information about poverty.
The reformers and many other people such as the salvation army and civil servants were
collection information about the poor.
The scale of the problem
Life expectancy was at 45 for the poor. 163 deaths per thousand. The poor were much shorter
and thinner than the middle and upper classes. The top 10% of the population owned 92% of the
country's wealth.…read more

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Why did the liberals introduce their reforms? Pt. 2
Other issues
Between 1899 and 1902 Britain was at war do defend it's territory in southern Africa. Over half the
recruits who volunteered were not healthy enough. They had to lower the minimum height age
because people were so short. This alarmed the government as they needed to be able to pull up
a strong army at short notice.
Britain was overtaken by the USA and Germany as the worlds leading industrial power. Germany's
success seemed to be because their workforce was healthier, better educated and therefore
more efficient.
David Lloyd George
He was the first MP who had grown up poor as MP's were not paid at the time. He sympathised
with the ordinary people. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1908.
Winston Churchill.
Was a leading conservative but switched sides when the liberals started their reforms. He read the
works of Rowntree and thought that the issue of poverty needed to be tackled.…read more

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Why did the liberals introduce their reforms? Pt. 3
Political rivalry
The Liberals' main rivals were the Conservatives. When in power the Conservatives had
introduced measure of their own such as the unemployed workers act which helped fight the
effects of high unemployment. The liberals needed something better than this to encourage
voters to vote for them.…read more

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What measures did the Liberals introduce?
Free school meals (the school could choose whether to give them or not). School medical centres
providing health checks and treatments in school clinics had to be set up. You could no longer
insure a child and children were given a special status as protected persons
The old
An old age pension was introduced for anyone over 70 unless they earned more that £31 a year
o hadn't worked to the best of their ability during their working life.
The unemployed
Workers could sign onto a register when they were unemployed and they could find out about
available work. By 1913 labour exchanged were putting 3000 people in work every day.…read more

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