Liberal Reforms

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Background knowledge on attemts before Liberals.

  • 1875 a law was introduced(Public Health Act) to try and improve however was left to the local councils to enforce it.This never happened.It failed.
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Why Reforms where needed.

  • The old-Had poor housing became "dependant people" often living in small houses with there children.Once they left work they had no money to survive on (no pension unless you had a personal contributory one)
  • Poor Housing-Many families lived in 1 or 2 rooms.Spread Diseases and illnesses.
  • Overcrowding in Urban areas-Left towns in scwallor.
  • Low Wages-Unions didn't help poor to get fare wages etc.
  • Private Medical care-The poor couldn't afford a doctor or dentist so left there problem to grow which lead to deaths.
  • Illness/Accidents at work-No insurance against this sort of accident like sick pay.If you didn't work you had no money.
  • Unemployment/Underemployment-Employers had many people applying for jobs there for when they had a job available they'd pay the men little wages,if they complained they'd be sacked and give the job to someone else.No unemployment money was given (eg.dole)People struggled to find work especially if it was seasonal.
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Why were the reforms introduced?

The liberals realised they needed the poor to help them win the election of 1906 and many reason built up to the reforms been introduced such as;

  • The British Army-from 1899-1902 G.b had fought in the Boer war.However they found only 10%of men applying were "war fit".They needed to change this in case of future wars.(Nationalistic reason)
  • Industry-Britain was once the best industrial country however America and Germany had began to over take her.Britain needed healthy workers to get back on top form.Was it just a coincidence Germany already had its welfare reforms in place?(Nationalistic reason)
  • The Labour Party-The labour party were continuing to grow and started to get peoples attention the poor had the vote,they were a large group of people who could sway the votes in favour of the labour party therefore the Liberals needed to make promises to help them before the Labour party did so to ensure they won the election in 1906.(Political reason)
  • Social Reformers-Investigations had been carried out by Seebohm Rowntree and Charles Booth about the poverty line.The results shocked people into action.Rowntree found that the poverty line in york was 12 shilllings 8d(pennies).Similar results were concluded by Booth in London.30% of population below poverty line.They found it wasn't due to laziness of the poor but due to the rise and fall of the economy.Which had always happened.(Moral reason)
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The Reforms

The liberals came to power in 1906 and started passing laws to help the poor straight away.

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  • 1906-Free school meals;HOWEVER not compulsory,most LEA's didn't enforce it.
  • 1907-Free medical care-Again not compulsory enforced by local council.
  • 1908-Young Person's act.Stopped children been neglected HOWEVER not enough agents to check this.
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The Old

  • 1908-Old aged pensions enforced.
  • January 1909-First pension taken out.

This meant if you were over 70 years old .Had less than £31 AND could prove you were a hard worker and a good person throughout your life, you got a pension. However it was often hard to prove.

  • If you were singleyou received-5shillings
  • Marriedyou received 7shillings 6d(pennies) as you shared living cost between you.
  • IT WAS non contributory.
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  • 1909-Labour exchanges.HOWEVER no guarantee's you'll find a job.
  • 1913-Labour exchanges got 3,000 jobs per day !
  • 1911-National Insurance Act-Not a private scheme.
  • 1911-Unemployment benefit-You received 7shillings a week for 15weeks.This wasn't enough to live off of so it forced people to find work ( a government tactic)You only pay2.5 shillings a week into it.
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Other Steps to improve.

  • (1875-Public Health act)
  • 1906-Trade disputes act-union not to blame for strike damage.
  • 1906-Workers Compensation
  • 1908-8 hour a day for miners.
  • 1910-Half day off every week for shop workers.(paid)
  • 1911-Mp's had a wage.Allowed working class men to try to stand.
  • 1911-Sick Pay-if you earned under £160 a year it was compulsory to pay into it."get 9d for 4d" you payed 4d government and employer paid rest.You were entitled to 9d a week for up to 26 weeks.
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Reactions to The Liberal Reforms.

Support for Liberal reforms

  • Poor-Gave them money and freedom.
  • Winston Churchill-He changed political party due to his belief in helping the poor.
  • David Lloyd George (Social reformer)
  • Seebohm Rowntree ( social reformer)
  • Charles Booth ( social reformer)

Opposition to the Liberal reforms

  • Conservative party-opposed idea of a "nanny state"though they shouldn't get involved in peoples personal business.
  • Doctors-Lost money from less private patients having to work for the gov. (Formation of NHS)
  • "Friendly society's"and Insurance companies-Opposed to widow money. Lost money.
  • House of Lords-They were all wealthy people who were bornwealthy aswell.They didn't want a high tax rate.They lost power due to there opposition.
  • Some workers and Poor-They had to may money towards sick pay and unemployment however it wasn't guaranteed they'd become sick or unemployed and then they wouldn't get any of there money back that they had paid in.
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