History - Liberal Reforms


Poverty in the 1890's 

  • Poverty was often blamed on the individual which was blamed in laziness.
  • Politicians believed that people were responsible for their own welfare and that they should work hard and save for their old age.
  • The only way to get up if you were poor was to enter the workhouse. Conditions in the workhouse were poor to discourage people from seeking help. 
  • Charities to help the poor existed, but many relied on family. 

Living conditions in the 1890's

  • Many people moved from the countryside to the cities in hope of jobs in factories from an industrializing Britain.
  • The problems the poor faced : - Poor housing - Low wages - Unemployment   - Illness - Irregular work - Little help for elderly, sick or unemployed.

Why did the Liberal Government introduce reforms to help the young, old and unemployed?

  • By 1900, public opinion was changing as people realized that poverty was a cause of several factors. 
  • Charles Booth - he carried out resarch into poverty in London and published a book to display this.
  • Seebohm Rowntree - he 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.

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amy powell


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