Britian 1906-14 - New Liberalism

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New Liberalism

  • Stressed freedom from poverty, low wages and insecurity.
  • Believed State had key role in establishing minimum standards
  • Recognised poor sections of society needed help from State
  • Believed destitute needed safety nets - need to help the vulnerable
  • ·Believed in 'self-help'-  left those who could look after themselves alone
  • Believed in Free Trade & freedom to do business without control
  • Higher government spending - contradicted traditional emphasis on thrift and low taxation.
  • Some believed in scheme of payments for benefits for certain groups
  • Others believed in redistribution of income by taxing rich more heavily
  • Liberals did not win election on New Liberal' platform
  • 1906> - Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith passed a series of social and welfare reforms.
  • Cons vulnerable to attack - neglect of reforms
  • Reduced threat from Labour Party.
  • Could rescue Liberals from divisions
  • Lloyd George and Churchill were associated with reforms 
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Poverty

  • Growing concern about poverty in  C19th - population X3ed - more poor 
  • Population > urbanised - 'slum' districts of every town & city.
  • Visible to  philanthropists, charitable societies, writers and researchers 
  • Contrast between poverty of slums and riches of wealthy
  •  Fears of disorder and revolution - development of  TUs of unskilled workers brought wave of strikes - people favoured measures to decrease poverty
  • Charles Booth - 17 volumes on London's poor 1889-1903
  • Rowntree - investigation on York's poor 1899
  • 30 % urban population 'poor'
  • 10% 'very poor' - primary poverty - didn't meet minimum living standards
  • 20% -  only just enough to meet minimum standards
  • later studies - similar result in rural areas
  • richest country in the world had 1/4> population living below breadline
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Liberal Social Reforms 1906-1909

  • Workmen's Compensation 
  • Act 1906
    • >ed compensation 
    • for work-based accidents & diseases 
  • 1906 Education Act 
    • LAs to provide free school meals for needy children.
  • 1907 Education Act 
    • Set up School Medical Service 
    • Compulsory for LAs to medically inspect school children
  • 1908 Children Act
    • Parental neglect illegal
    • Juvenile courts
    • Illegal to 
    • sell tobacco and 
    • alcohol to children
  • 1908 Old Age Pensions Act 
    • Provided a pension - 5s a week for single persons
    • 7s 6d for married couple.
  • 1909 Trade boards 
    • Boards set up to fix minimum wages and inspect certain trades
  • 1909 Labour exchanges 
  • Provived places where workers looking for work & employers looking for workers could meet
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Reforms 1909-1911

  • 1909 Labour exchanges 
  • Provived places where workers looking for work & employers looking for workers could meet
  • 1911 National Insurance (Unemployment) Act
  • Compelled workers & employers to contribute weekly to national insurance fund
  • State contributed through taxes 
  • Enabled unemployed to receive weekly  benefit 
  • National Insurance (Sickness) Act 
  • State organised compulsory scheme - workers & employers paid into national fund weekly 
  • State contributed through taxes
  • Shops Act 1911 
  • Provided weekly half-day holiday for shop worker
  • Coal Mines Acts 1908 & 1911
  • <ed working day to eight hours. 
  • Improved safety regulations.
  • Merchant Shipping Act 
  • Improved food and accommodation for merchant seamen.
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Successes of Reforms

  • NI unemployment Act -  covered 2.25 mill & provided 7s p/w benefit for 15 weeks - families avoided destitution
  • NI sickness Act - covered 13 mil -  benefit 10s p/w for 13 weeks & 5s for 13 weeks - 6 months total
    • Maternity grant, disability benefit & free medical treatment & treatment sanatorium for TB
  • School meals act - enabled hungry children to concentrate - 14 mill provided by 1914
  • medical inspection Act - 3/4 LEAs  providing free medical check & 2/3 free treatment by 1914
  • Children Act - set minimum standards childcare & different treatment of child offenders
  • OAP Act - 'non-contributory' - paid from taxes
    • paid by post offices not Poor Law - poor ashamed of being called 'paupers' got help - 1 million pensieners by 1915 - more women
  • Trade Boards - covered 200,000 workers in 4 trades with long hours, low wages & no TU 
  • 1913 - extended to 6 trades inc.coal miners
  • Labour exchanges - 1914 - 2 mil workers & 430 exchanges finding 3,000 jobs a day
  • Rowntree 'follow-up' survey 1936 - only 4% in 'primary poverty', vs 10% in 1899 
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Failures of Reforms

  • Liberals never created a full welfare state - created lifebelt
  • Housing remained in short supply - limited slum clearance under 1909 Town Planning Act -  opposition landlords proved too much of a challenge - left 'permissive',
  • LG had planned major housing act for 1915 - put off by war
  • Liberals criticised for not reform Poor Law; despit findings of 47 volumes of Royal Commission on Poor Law 
  • Libs did respond to suggestions but they never scrapped the old Poor Law - elderly poor had to rely on the workhouse
  • Education neglected - 1906 Education Bill destroyed by Lords - cause given up.
  •  Not all LAs built sufficient secondary schools - most children left at 13.
  • Other causes of poverty identified in Booth and Rowntree reports left untouched.
  • Employment remained dire - 
  • Large families received no aid.
  • Rowntree 'follow-up' survey 1936, which showed that only 4 per cent were living in 'primary poverty', compared with the 10% in 1899
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The Relationship between State and individual

  • State expanded influence into areas left to the family, 
  •  Extended influence into labour market - minimum wages & working conditions
  •  Moved into health provision - School Medical Service & NI Act
  • Moving away from laissez-faire
  • <1951 -State intervention taken much further - took new powers of compulsion over individuals
  • Moved provision for the poor from the local community to central government
  • Began to replace a multiplicity of local and voluntary schemes with a compulsory national one
  • The reforms <1908 less radical than  <1908 and legislation involved LAs
  • Child legislation permissive <1914
  • Lloyd George & Churchill believed in limits to intervention - did not want State to take over industry or to provide all services
  • Reforms not universal & based on personal contributions
  • Opposition of Lords & presence of 'Old Liberals'
  • Still had features of C19th e.g.Victorian distinction between poor who did & didn't deserve help
  • Conservative rather than radical
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The Relationship between State and Individual cont

  • Reforms not universal & based on personal contributions
  • Opposition of Lords & presence of 'Old Liberals'
  • Still had features of C19th e.g.Victorian distinction between poor who did & didn't deserve help
  • Conservative rather than radical
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1st Constitutional Crisis: The People's Budget 190

  •   LG needed to find £15 mil for new social services & construction of naval warships
  • Tax rich & living on unearned income.
  • <ed incomes tax - 1s > 1s 2d in £ on incomes £3,000> pa
  • super tax on incomes £5,000> pa
  • <ed death duties on estates of £5,000> pa
  • 1st land tax - taxation of 'unearned increment of land value' - would stop > in land value due to >er demand
  • Tax on lazy landowner profits
  • 20% duty on the unearned >ed land value on sale or inheritance.
  • 2nd duty - ½d to £ on undeveloped land value - stopped owners not developing land         
  • Taxes on luxury goods (motor cars, petrol, beer & tobacco)
  •  LG needed > revenue and favoured redistribution of wealth
  •  Wanted to show WC voters they didn’t need to vote Labour
  •  Wanted to punish the Conservatives for their opposition
  • Land taxes controversial-  would produce much revenue but Cons landowners.
  • Budget Protest League set up - denounced taxes as robbery.
  • Limehouse speech July 1909 -called opposition 'class war '.
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1st Constitutional Crisis cont'd

  • Wanted to show WC voters they didn’t need to vote Labour
  •  Wanted to punish the Conservatives for their opposition
  • Land taxes controversial-  would produce much revenue but Cons landowners.
  • Budget Protest League set up - denounced taxes as robbery.
  • Limehouse speech July 1909 -called opposition 'class war '.
  • Conservatives argued this was no ordinary Budget and amounted to social revolution
  • Opponents worried by redistribution & progressive taxation..
  •  Nov 1909; Lords 'vetoed' Budget - convention of Lords not interfering with 'money bills' broken
  •  Libs had no authority to collect taxes - election
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General Election January 1910

  • Libs fought election on 'The Peers versus the People'.
  •  not accurate - <1/2 British adults had right to vote1910
  •  LG launched campaign against Lords - depicted as selfish & begrudging Xtra taxes for social reform.
  • Conservatives suggested  raising money with tariffs on foreign imports
  • Argued Lords had duty to restrain governments from making changes not voted on
  • 275 seats vs Cons 273
  • Irish Nationalists = 82
  • Labs = 40.
  • Libs depended on Irish support in return for an attack on Lords.
  • Wanted Lords weakened to achieve Home Rule
  • Commons got majority for Budget - pass
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2nd constitutional crisis 1910-11

  • Libs determined Lords should block measures passed by Commons - drew up bill to curb veto power
  • No power to amend or reject certified money bills
  • Could delay only delay bills for 2 years - 'suspensory veto'.
  • <mum period between elections would be <ed from 7 years to 5 years.
  • needed to be passed by Lords - asked King Edward VII to create enough Lib peers to outvote Cons peers in Lords - died May 1910
  • ·         George V tried to get Libs and Cons to come to agreement - Constitutional Conference June-November 1910.
  • Cons offered to reform composition of Lords - Libs determined to < constitutional powers.
  • Cons insisted Lords should have right to veto change in constitution unless referendum.
  • Asquith under Irish pressure to reject proposal - conference broke down.
  • George V promised to create new peers if Libs won election on issue 
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December 1910 General Election

  • Libs and Cons won 272 seats
  • Lib’s had Labour’s 42 & Irish Nationalist’s 84 - working >ity - remained government.
  • May 1911 - Commons passed Parliament Bill.
  •  Lords passed wrecking amendments to the bill - Commons rejected.
  • Split Cons - 'the rats' cooperated with bill, 'the hedgers' undecided; & 'the ditchers'/'diehards' determined to oppose
  • August 1911 - Parliament Bill read in Lords without amendments
  • > Conservative peers 'hedgers' -abstained
  • Passed by 131 Liberals & ons 'rats' vs 114 'diehards'.
  •  Balfour = 'hedger'
  • Cons divided - Balfour forced to resign November 1911- Bonar Law succeeded
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Third Irish Home Rule Bill 1912

  • Moderate measure - Ireland own parliament with power to make laws on Irish matter but would continue to send MPs to Westminster.
  •  Cons opposed Home Rule - supported Ulster Unionists
  • Argued Home Rule would undermine Britain's status & stated Libs had no authority to change constitution - Home Rule not issue in 1910 elections.
  • Unionists feared discrimination - Catholic-dominated country with emphasis on Gaelic heritage.
  • Ulster only industrialised part of Ireland - major shipbuilding &textile industry - did not want to lose control over wealth
  • Belfast had more in common with British citie than Dublin.
  • Didnit want industries taxed to help rural Ireland.
  • <1911 - Unionists had relied on Lords - began to organise resistance under  Edward Carson - organised meetings & drew up Ulster Covenant
  • 1000s Ulstermen signed -some in blood.
  • 1913 - Home Rule Bill passed in Commons but held up in Lords,
  •  Carson formed Ulster Volunteer Force -   smuggled 30,000 rifles and 3 mil rounds of ammo into Lame 1914 - Bonar Law supported Unionists
  • March 1914 - Curragh Mutiny - British officers at Curragh threatened to resign rather than fight Unionists
  • Irish Nationalists formed Irish Volunteers - smuggled rifles & ammunition summer 1914 - fears of civil war 
  • Home Rule Bill due to become law autumn 1915 - two-year delay by Lords.
  • Last minute talks at Buckingham Palace - failed to reach agreement
  • Civil war averted by outbreak of WWI - problem suspended not resolved
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Third Irish Home Rule Bill 1912 cont'd

  • 1913 - Home Rule Bill passed in Commons but held up in Lords,
  •  Carson formed Ulster Volunteer Force -   smuggled 30,000 rifles and 3 mil rounds of ammo into Lame 1914 - Bonar Law supported Unionists
  • March 1914 - Curragh Mutiny - British officers at Curragh threatened to resign rather than fight Unionists
  • Irish Nationalists formed Irish Volunteers - smuggled rifles & ammunition summer 1914 - fears of civil war 
  • Home Rule Bill due to become law autumn 1915 - two-year delay by Lords.
  • Last minute talks at Buckingham Palace - failed to reach agreement
  • Civil war averted by outbreak of WWI - problem suspended not resolved
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