Liberal Welfare Reforms

Social Reformers

Charles Booth-

  • Didn't accept government statistics saying 25% of working population lived in poverty
  • Investigated over 17 years then wrote books
  • Found 31% of Londoners lived below poverty line: (couldn't afford clothes, food, shelter)
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Social Reformers

Seebohm Rowntree-

  • Wanted to see if Charles Booth's findings in London were similar in York
  • Found 28% of York population in poverty
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Social Reformers-> Political issue

  • Social reform books were read by many (including Winston Churchill)
  • 1899- Boar War- many men rejected from the army b/c failed medical tests
  • British workforce not compare with USA or Germany
  • 1900-Socialist groups formed Labour Party-
    they pledged better living and working conditions 
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The Liberal Government

  • David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill believed the state had an important role to play in the welfare of those in poverty
    (Influenced by social reformers)
  • Realised that poverty was not always the poor's fault
    Before, it had been considered that it was (gambling and drinking)
  • Liberals came to power in 1906
    (Conservatives had been in power since 1895) 
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Why did the Liberals introduce reforms?

  • They could
    they had 400 seats, so could pass radical laws without government intervention
  • Boer War
    to make the British Army stronger
  • To make a healthier and better workforce
    USA and Germany were getting increased industrial power
  • Convinced by social reformers: Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree
  • Political rivalry
    they had competition from parties like the Labour Party to gain the working man's vote. 
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Opposition to the reforms

  • Conservatives feared a "nanny state"
  • People were unsure whether reforms were sustainable
  • Tax payers feared reforms would be expensive
  • Poor people were ashamed to be receiving help
  • Employers disliked having to contribute to pensions
  • Not everyone was helped
  • Workers in National Insurance Act had to fund it themselves
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Reforms for Children

-1906: Free school meals-
-Local authorities were allowed to provide
-Only for the children from poorest families

-1907: School medical inspections 
-Doctors and nurses gave compulsory medical checks
-Checks were free, but treatment had to be paid for until 1912
-Provided by local authority so standard of treatment varied

-1908: Children's charter
-Made children "protected persons"
-Children's homes were inspected
-Under 14s went to borstals not adult prisons & weren't allowed in pubs
-Cigarettes could not be sold to those under 16

-1912: School Clinics
-Provided free medical treatment for children
-Introduced because some couldn't afford treatments

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Reforms for the Elderly

-1908: Pensions Act-
-Gave weekly pensions to the elderly
-Funded by the government
-For those over 70
-SIngle person received 5s a week
-Married couple received 7s6d 

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Reforms for the Sick and Unemployed

-1909: Labour exchanges-
-Set up labour exhanges (job centres)
-Efficient for both those looking for jobs and employers
-BUT the government didn't increase the amount of jobs available AND the work was only temporary so workers would soon be unemployed again.

-1911: National Insurance Act
-Aimed to prevent poverty from sickness
-Workers could insure themselves and get sick pay
-All manual workers had to join
-Workers, employers and government paid for this
-BUT sick pay only lasted for a maximum amount of time

-1912: National Insurance Act Part 2
-Aimed to prevent poverty from unemployment
-Workers, employers and government had to pay
-Workers were paid each week and could receive money for up to 15 weeks a year when sick 

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