Liberal reforms - Why?
1. Political reasons. The Liberal party wanted to stay more popular than the newly formed Labour, who were also proposing reforms.
2. Economic reasons. Germany was becoming a major industrial centre, and starting to compete with Britain. Germany already had many of the reforms that were introduced, and Britain wanted to keep up.
3. Empire reasons. Britain had just lost the Boer War (South Africa), and about half of the men who volunteered were unfit to fight. If Britain wanted to keep her Empire, then she needed a army that could actually fight, and weren't all too ill.
4. Personal reasons. David Lloyd George came from a lower class Welsh background. He hated the British upper classes and wanted to help the lower classes.
5. Poverty. Rowntree and others at the time were conducting studies into the causes and spread of poverty. This showed how much of a problem the issue really was.
Liberal reforms - Children
1906 - School Meals Act. Local authorities start providing free school meals for the poor.
1907 - Free school medical inspections introduced. Couldn't get required treatment until 1912 though.
1908 - Childrens Charter. This included Child Care commites, different punishments for young offenders, such as probation and borstals. It became illegal to sell tobacco, alcohol and fireworks to people under 16. Working hours for children were limited, and some work was illegal altogether.
Liberal reforms - Old age pensions
1908 - Old Age Pensions Act. People on less than £21 per year, and over 70 could collect 5s a week in their post office. A smaller pension was given to those better off. The scheme was originally thought to only cover 1/2 million people, but nearly 1 million were by 1913. Some areas had 4 out of 5 people recieving the pension. No contribution was needed by the people who recieved the pension, as it was paid for out of taxes.
Liberal reforms - Labour exchanges
1909 - Labour exchanges Act. The unemployed registered with their local exchange. Local employers would notify the exchange when they had vacancies and so the jobs would be filled. More convenient for the unemployed.
Liberal reforms - National Insurance
Only 10% of the population was covered for the loss of their job. This was copied from a similar German scheme.
Liberal reforms - Health Insurance
This was compulsory. It covered anybody earning less than £160 a year, which at the time was a good wage. Under the scheme employees paid 4d a week, which their employer added 3d to, then the government 2d. This gave workers free medical care from a doctor (not medicines). They could also claim 10s a week for 26 weeks when ill or unable to work. A maternity benifit payment was also included in the scheme of 30s on the birth of a child, but otherwise families of workers were not covered by the scheme.
Liberal reforms - Unemployment Insurance
This was part of the National Insurance scheme, but had not been done anywhere else before. It only protected men affected by seasonal employment, such as building and shipbuilding. It gave the men 7s a week for 15 weeks when unemployed. 2.5d from the employee and 2.5d from the employer. To receive this benifit the workers had to go to a Labour exchange and be registered there.
Women's suffrage - Arguments against
- Politics was an unsuitable activity for women.They had no interest in the matter, and would not understand difficult political issues. (As claimed by men).
- Many women did not want the vote (including Queen Victoria).
- There were more important social issues to be fighting for that would affect all women, not just the few middle class women who wanted the vote.
- Not all men had the vote.
- Nobody thought that all women should have the vote, but giving the vote to a section of society would give one party a advantage.
- The violent tactics proved that women didn't deserve the vote.
- Women should not have the vote as they did not protect the country in times of war.
Women's suffrage - Arguments for
- Women had as much right to vote as men.
- Women already had the vote in some other countries such as New Zealand, Australia and some parts of the USA.
- Some women could vote in local elections, so why not parliamentary ones?
- 'Modern' women were more educated and independent than before.
- It would be democractic to give women the vote, more and more men had been given the vote through the previous century.
Formed by Millicent Fawcett in 1897. It stands for National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. The NUWSS believed in peaceful moderate tactics and persuation. They won quite a lot of support for the cause. They would have probably successed, but the suffragettes got in the way a bit.
Formed in 1903. Stands for Women's Social and Political Union. Lead by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst. Sylvia Pankhurst was also a leading figure in the movement. The Suffragettes used violent methods. This started with breaking up meetings and demonstrations. However when Parliament continued to refuse women's suffrage their methods turned illegal, including assult, arson and smashing windows. This climaxed in the death of Emily Davison at the 1913 Derby. She was knocked down whilst trying to stop the King's horse.
As many of the suffragettes were being arrested, they went on hunger strike. This lead to them being force fed. The 'Cat and Mouse' Act was passed. This meant that the women were released when they became ill, the re arrested when they were better.
Women contributed to the war effort in a number of ways. Much of this was taking on the jobs that had been left by the men, such as munitions factory workers and farm hands.
Affect of the war on civilians
- DORA (Defence Of the Realm Act)
Government propaganda had many different uses during the war. Some of these were
- Encourage military service
- Encourage hatred of Germans
- Show German atrocity towards innocents to encourage continued support for the war.
Women get the vote
Some women recieved the vote in 1918, mostly due to the work done during the war. However only women over 30 recieved the vote, which was strange as these were not the women who had helped during the war.
In 1928 all women recieved the vote.