1906 Liberal Goverenment
Campbell Bannerman: PM (old Liberal)
Asquith: Chancellor (less radical new Liberal)
Lloyd George and Churchill (radical new Liberals)
had a massive majority of 399 seats in Commons
BUT Tories had a majority in Lords
1906 The Education (Provision of Meals) Act
Enabled (not compulsory) LEAs to provide meals to 'needy'
1907 Education Act
Made school medical inspections compulsory
1908 Children's Act
Measures to deal with neglect and abuse
1908 Old Age Pension's Act
People over 70 with low incomes who had worked regularly and not been in prison
1911 National Insurance Act
Two parts: Health Insurance and Unemployment Insurance
Studies into poverty were done by both Booth (1889) and Rowntree (1903)
Booth showed that 30% of the population of London fell below the poverty line
Rowntree's study in York showed a similar picture
One third of the population was living in dangerously deprived conditions.
Impact of the Boer War 1899-1902
There was no shortage of volunteers, but many were unfit for military service due to a variety of medical conditions
It raised the question of what might happen to Britain if it faced a larger conflict in the future
Therefore many people who might not have sympathised with social reform purely for its own sake now saw the need
Background on Liberals and Lords
Liberals evolved from the old 'Whig' Party who were the rivals of the Tories
The Tories split in the 1840s over the issue of free trade
The pro-free trade Tories joined with the Whigs to form the Liberal Party
The Lords were paternalistic, believed in a superior ruling class with a moral duty to look after the poor
Saw themselves as the natural rulers
Power comes form the land-seized land in 1066, 'original' land owners
Hereditary Peers: inherited seat
Life Peers: made a Lord, can't be passed on
'peers'-equal within that class
Problem of the Lords
Lords had the right of VETO-to block laws
Didn't use it very much and especially not for finance bills as the government wouldn't be able to run the country
It would also make them unpopular
HOWEVER because Commons was so Liberal (and 29 Labour MPs) the Lords decided to be more obstructive
They couldn't accept the conservative defeat
In 1906 they vetoed a PLURAL VOTING BILL (to limit voting to one constituency)
And an EDUCATION BILL (put all C of E schools under local authority)
BIG PROBLEM came when they vetoed Lloyd George's 1909 PEOPLE'S BUDGET which led to a CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
People's Budget of 1909
For Old Age Pensions and Dreadnoughts (battleships)
Super Tax on incomes of £5000 +
Increase in death duties
New land taxes ( including a 20% tax on land sold at a higher value than it was bought for)
Taxes on motor vehicles, petrol, and liquor, and tobacco.
Targetted the rich so the Lords didn't like.
Especially against the land taxes as their land was important and part of their identity.
Effects of Lords' Veto
Asquith (who was now PM) had to call a general elections in January 1910 over the issue. The result was a stalemate
Liberals had to rely on the support of the Irish who were demanding a Home Rule Bill.
After the January 1910 election the government introduced the Parliament Bill which said:
Lords could not reject or ammend financial legislation.
Could only reject or ammend two legislation per Parliament
Parliament was reduced form 7 years to 5
May 1910 King George came to the throne.
Asquith called a second election December 1910, which was also a stalemate.
In August 1911 Asquith threatened to create new Liberal Peers in order to get the Bill passed, so the Lords passed it.
Results of the Constitutional Crisis
The Liberal Government were dependent on the Irish Nationalists
Cost them their overall majority.
Had to deal with Home Rule.