History AQA 2M AS Level Notes - Britain in Transition - 1906 to 1914

  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 24-05-17 20:28

1906 - 1914

  • Why did the Liberals win the 1906 election?

Boer War
Chinese Slavery
1902 Education Act & 1904 Licensing Act
Tariff Reform
Taff Vale

  • Reasons for the Liberal Welfare Reforms

National Efficiency
Fears that Britain was in decline as a world power led to the idea that Britain had to improve its national efficiency by taking steps to improve the quality of the workforce. If Britain was to compete and maintain its position as a world power, then it had to be run efficiently with a strong, healthy and well-educated workforce. Lloyd George was inspired by Bismarck’s welfare state as Germany became a strong economic power.

New Liberalism
A new type of Liberalism had emerged by 1906, and it was this 'new liberalism' which provided the inspiration for the reforms. New Liberals, such as Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and Herbert Asquith, argued that there were circumstances in which it was right for the state to intervene in people's lives.

Political Advantage
The Labour Party had just been established and it was winning public support for its campaigns for social welfare policies, such as old age pensions and unemployment benefits. The ruling Liberal Party recognised the threat this new party posed to its traditional support in many working class areas. To counter the threat from the socialist and Labour movement, the Liberals realised that they had to instigate social reforms or risk losing political support from the working classes.

Reports of Booth & Rowntree
Charles Booth carried out research into poverty in London and published a book to display this.
Seebohm Rowntree studied poverty and its causes in York and published a report on it.
Both researchers found that 28 - 31% of the population lived around the poverty line. The poverty line meaning unable to afford decent housing, food, clothing, healthcare or even a luxury, such as a newspaper. (Rowntree friends with David Lloyd George)

National Security
During the war, the British army experienced great difficulty in finding fit young men to recruit as soldiers. One in three potential recruits was refused on medical grounds. This led to questions being asked about the physical condition of the working class male. The Government would have to do something to ensure basic health levels among the population. Imperialist reasoning as an unfit army was a risk to the British Empire.

  • Impact of the Liberal Welfare Reforms

Old Age Pensions Act 1909
Introduced pensions which gave weekly pensions from Government funds to the elderly of 5 shillings per week to those over 70 and married couples get: 7s 6d (later made 10s)
-  State offered security for first time without stigma of poor law relief
-  Gave pensioners chance of a better life
-  Small amount, bare minimum to survive
-  People under 70 did not qualify, many people did not live to this age
-  Those who had been in prison or failed to work were excluded
-  Had to be living in Britain for 20+ years
-  Income of


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