Liberal Welfare Reforms



Poverty = Personal Failing

25-30% population below poverty line

Self Help = Working hard and saving money to beat poverty

Poverty is NOT a responsibility of the government.

1906 - Liberal government elected (84 seats)

Liberals belived in supporting the poor.

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1 Rowntree and Booth promoting it:

1901 - Rowntree's book "Poverty: A Study of Town Life." based on 2 years of research in York


  • Caused by old age and illness
  • Caused by Britain's trade cycle
  • 27% of York below the poverty line
  • The state should protect the very young, old ,ill and unemployed.

Rowntree had wealth and connections so influenced the governement

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Causes 2

Rowntree = supporter of David Lloyd George 

David Lloyd George = Chancellor of the Exchequer 1908

Booth = 31% Londoners below the poverty line

2. Key individuals:

David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill ( President of the Board of Trade)

3. Political Rivalry:

Conservative Party - 1905 Unemployed Workers Act

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Causes 3

4. Rise of Socialism (Russia): to win working class vote

5. Boer War (1899-1902):

2/3 volunteers unfit

6. Industrial decline: Overtaken by Germany and USA: 

Unhealthy unfit workers.

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Reforms for Children

Children's Reforms

1. 1906 - free school meals:

by 1914, 14 million meals provided

2. 1907 - free medical checks

1912 - free medical treatment

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Children Reforms 2

3. 1908 - Children and Young person Act:


Illegal to insure children's lives

Childrens' homes inspected

Juvenile courts and Borstals

Illegal for children to do unsuitable work

Illegal for U14s in pubs

Illegal for U16s to buy cigarettes

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Reforms for the elderly

Elderly Reforms:

1908 Old Age Pensions Act


Direct from the government

Over 70s = 5s a week

Married Couples 7s 6d

Old people were reliant upon outdoor relief (handouts) or the workhouse

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Reforms for the elderly effect


650,000 people benefited in the 1st year

Gave them independence back

Gave their self-respect back

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Reforms for the sick

Reforms for the Sick: Part 1 National Insurance Act:

Everyone earning U £160:

Worker = 4d per week

Employer = 3d

Government = 2d

Stamps on a card

Liberal Posters talked of getting 9d for 4d

Money paid into a friendly soceity of their choice

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Reforms for the sick

When they were sick:

For 26 weeks = 10s / week

5s / week thereon

Free medical treatment and maternity care

10 million men

4 million women

Families of workers did not recieve free treatment

Widows did not recieve pensions

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Reforms for the unemployed

Reforms for the Unemployed:

Labour exchanges 1909

1913 - 3,000 people put into jobs per day

Part 2 1911 National Insurance Act:

Irregular workers - Seasonal unemployment (2,250,000)

2 1/2d per week from each party


7s per week for up to 15 weeks a year

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1. Labour Party criticised that workers funded their own benefits

2. Conservatives-  "nanny state" and said it makes them dependent 

3. Some employers didn't like contributing to workers' insurances

4. Some workers didn't like pay being deducted from their wages

5. Some doctors objected to being on a health "panel"

6. Insurance companies prevented national insurance being extended to orphans and widows

7. Some rich objected more tax on the: 1909 People's Budget

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The majority of the population received it

Quality of life improved

The idea of "Pauper" destroyed

Beginning of today's "Welfare State"

A fitter and helathier workforce and military force

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