Social Reform of the Liberals (1908)

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Reforms for Children

School Meals Act (1906)

  • Free school meals
  • Local authorities could levy a rate of pay for needy children meals

Medical Inspections Act (1907)

  • Medical inspections in schools
  • Government grants to set up school clinics
  • Free medical treatment

Children's Charter (1908)

  • Collection of measures to protect and decriminalise children
  • Juvenile courts set up
  • Not to be mixed with hardened criminals
  • Emphasis on rehabilitiation
  • Illegal for children to beg on the streets
  • New penalities for the ill-treatment of children
  • Sale of cigarettes, tobacco and unsealed alcohol to children under 16 was banned
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Reforms for the Elderly

Old Age Pensions Act (1908)

  • Provided a non-contributory pension of 5 shillings per week
  • People aged 70 and over
  • Annual income over £21
  • Given as a right and not a charitable handout
  • Removed the stigma of applying for help under the poor system
  • No financial burden attached to it
  • Collectivist principle of State intervention
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Reforms for the Workers

Trade Boards Act (1909)

  • Fixed minimum wages for the various trades involved

Shops Act (1911)

  • Gave assistants a half day holiday a week

The Mines Act (1908)

  • Limited the number of hours a miner could work underground in a day
  • Eight hour day

Exchange Offices

  • Advertised local job vacancies
  • Paid out unemployment benefits
  • Bring together worker and employer at one location
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National Insurance Act (1911)

  • Compulsory scheme
  • Organised in two parts
  • First related to health insurance
  • Second related to unemployment insurance
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Health Insurance

  • Compulsory scheme
  • Health insurance for workers earning less than £160 a year
  • Worker would contribute 4d
  • Employer would contribute 3d
  • The State would contribute 2d
  • Benefit would be 10 shillings a week for 13 weeks 
  • Free medical attention and medicine
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Unemployment Insurance

  • Compulsory scheme
  • Workers in trades that were most affected by seasonal variations
  • Employer contributed = 2.5d
  • Employee contributed = 2.5d
  • State = 3d
  • Benefit = 7 shillings a week for 15 weeks in a 12 month period
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Other Significant Reforms

Trade Disputes Act (1906)

  • No case could be brought against a union for damages caused by strike action
  • Made peaceful picketing legal
  • Strong legal position as a basis for the future
  • Secured their industrial power
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