Liberal Social Reform

Why ad how the liberals when they had won their landslide victory in 1906 decided to help the poor.

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Why did the Liberals decide to help the poor?

  • INCREASING INFO ABOUT THE POOR: Social reformers like Seebohm Rowntree did research he found that 43% of York's population were living below the poerty line which he set at £1 a week for a family of 5. The in 1902 Charles Booth published his results of a survey which showed that around 1/3 of londoners were also living below the poverty lie and there was link between this and early death. Also show that people could mostly cope until suffered illness or unemployment then families fell into sever poverty.
  • NATIONAL EFFICIENCY BOER WAR: When there was a call for recruits to fight in the Boer war 1899 40% recruits unfit for military service.
  • NATIONAL EFFICIENCY EFFECTIVE WORKFORCE: challenge for leading industrial power by Germany and USA, LG impressed with Germany's new welfare system and their development seemed closely linked with a better workforce.
  • POLITICAL RIVALRY: Liberals needed policies to unite people and differentiate themselves from Conservatives.Would also reduce chances of a socialist reform.
  • LG and Churchill
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Helping the elderly

In the early twentieth century old age was a real worry for most people. Because:

  • Few people could afford to save or take out private pension during working life so when they retired had to rely on charity (poor relief or outdoor relief) or the kindness of family and friend and many still ived with threat of workhouse.

Lloyd George became chancellor of the Excheq in 1908 and in 1909 introduced the people's budget-this controversial budget raised taxes partly to pay for the new measures the liberal gov was going to pass. He claimed he wanted to lift the shadow of the wokhouse from the homes of the poor.

  • OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT 1908- introduced pensions for old people who were on low income over 70. They were on a sliding scale from a maximum of five shillings a week to one shilling a week, ad married couples have a maximum of 7 shillings and six pence. 
  • Only British citzens who had been living in Britain for 20 years could receive a state pension
  • Paid by gov. and did not at first involve people making a contribution to a fund while they were still in work.
  • Controvrsial and some objectors claimed gov was going too far.
  • but to elderly was a huge relief they could be independent and no longer feared being a burden on their family or having to go to the workhouse.
  • In 1st year of scheme 650,000 people collected their weekly pensiones and by 1914 almost 1 mill pensioners.
  • small measure but a big step-non-contributory fund and so poverted was being tackled directly from government funding.
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helping the unemployed

1909 LABOUR EXCHANGE ACT-social reformers had shown how great a problem unemploymet and underemployment were and the gov were also concerned.

  • So in 1909 they set up a scheme of labour exchnages where the unemployed could register and employers could find workers.
  • Was much more efficient than the old method where workers had to travel from employer to employer to find work.
  • by 1914 there were more than 400 labour exchanges throughout country and 1 mill workers registered.

NATIONAL INSURANC ACT 1911- saving money for when you became unemployed was not a new idea as some workers contributed to 'friendly societeites' which helped when they fell on hard times.

  • However, the govs scheme went beyond as it involved all the gov, employer and the worker contributing to  fund.
  • Unemployment benefit was provided for workers in trades like ship-building/engineering/building where occassional unemployment was common.
  • worker/employer/gov all contributed and worker receive national insurance staamp on his card. this meant if he became unemployed he could claim benefit for up to 15 weeks. The income was small so as not to encourage avoiding work or uncarful saving.
  • 21/2d employer   21/2dwoker      13/4d gov.
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helping the sick

  • The NATIONAL INSURANCE ACT 1911 also provided sick pay.
  • compulsory illness insurance for all workers who earned more than £3 a week.
  • each worker had to pay 4d / employer 3 d  / gov 2d per week and so the gov were able to say you were receiving 9d for 4 d
  • for this the worker could receive 10 shillings a week for a maximum of 26 weeks
  • families also recieved 30 shillings on the birth of a child
  • there was free medical for the insured but not for their families.
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Reactions to the reforms

1. conservatives opposed both the cost an th idea that the state should look afetr its citizens

2. friendly societies and insurance companies prevented national insurance benefits being given to widows.

3. some workers resented the deduction from wages

4. labour party opposed the idea that workers should fund their own benefits

5. rich did not agree-was a disagreement between the liberal majority in commons and the house of lords

6. lloyd george thought rich should use their inherited wealth to help the poor. 

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Reactions to the reforms

1. conservatives opposed both the cost an th idea that the state should look afetr its citizens

2. friendly societies and insurance companies prevented national insurance benefits being given to widows.

3. some workers resented the deduction from wages

4. labour party opposed the idea that workers should fund their own benefits

5. rich did not agree-was a disagreement between the liberal majority in commons and the house of lords

6. lloyd george thought rich should use their inherited wealth to help the poor. 

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Reactions to the reforms

1. conservatives opposed both the cost an th idea that the state should look afetr its citizens

2. friendly societies and insurance companies prevented national insurance benefits being given to widows.

3. some workers resented the deduction from wages

4. labour party opposed the idea that workers should fund their own benefits

5. rich did not agree-was a disagreement between the liberal majority in commons and the house of lords

6. lloyd george thought rich should use their inherited wealth to help the poor. 

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