School Meals Act - 1906
- At first, local charities provided free meals for children during school, although this wasn't enough.
- Many children were too hungry to learn properly in school.
- In 1906, the School Meals Act was passed which told local authorities that they had to provide free meals for their poorest children.
- By 1914, 150,000 children were receiving free meals.
- Despite this number, only about half of the local authorities actually set up this free meal service.
School Medical Service - 1907
- The school medical service told authorities that all children had to be seen by a doctor or nurse at least once a year.
- After 1912, any treatment needed became free, too.
Children's Charter - 1908
- Tobacco, fireworks and alcohol became illegal when sold to those under 16.
- Their working hours were limited and they were not allowed to undertake particular types of unsuitable work.
- The Children and Young Persons Act of 1908 meant that children were now 'protected persons' - parents could be prosecuted if they neglected their child. This also made it illegal to insure a child's life.
- Children were no longer sent to adult prisons, instead Borstals were set up to hold them.
- A probation system was also set up, along with children being dealt with in special juvenile courts.
- Child care committees were set up by the government in order to help families where their children were suffering from neglect or poverty.
Old Age Pensions Act - 1908
- First introduced for people on a low income aged over 70.
- They could receive a maximum of five shillings a week (25p) down to one shilling (5p)
- Married couples received a maximum of seven shillings and sixpence (37.5p)
- In the first year, there were 650,000 people collecting a weekly pension.
- This grew by 1914 to almost one million.
The Labour Exchange Act - 1909
- People in casual work were frequently laid off and the government became concerned about this.
- The Labour Exchange Act of 1909 set up labour exchanges around the country were workers could sign up and employers could look for workers.
- This was very efficient and by the end of 1914 there were more than 400 labour exchanges and over one million workers registered.
The National Insurance Act - 1911
- The government, the employers and the workers would all contribute to a fund to help out when workers became sick or unemployed.
- This benefit was offered to shipbuilding, engineering and building as unemployment was common here. The worker receiving the benefits got a 'national insurance stamp' on their card.
- This allowed the worker to claim benefits for up to 15 weeks - a small income that helped them out when between jobs.
- There was also a compulsory illness insurance for all workers who earned more than £3 a week.
- Each worker had to pay 4d a week, with the employer adding 3d and the government 2d. The governement often said that workers received '9d for 4d'.
- This allowed the worker to receive 10 shillings (50p) a week for up to 26 weeks.
- Families also received 30 shillings (£1.50) on the birth of a child.