Liberal Welfare Reforms 1906-14

Measures to help children

  • Local Education Authorities (LEA's) were given the power to provide free school meals (1906)
  • There were to be compulsory medical inspections at schools, and education authorities could provide free medical treatment (1907).
  • Child offenders were to be tried, not in ordinary law-courts, but in special juvenile courts, and they were to be sent to corrective schools (borstals) instead of to ordinary prisons (1908)
  • On the academic side of education the Liberals introduced the 'free place' system. Secondary schools were required to reserve a quarter of their places, free of charge, for children from elementary schools (1907).

Measures to help the Elderly

  • Old Age Pensions were to be introduced at 5 shillings a week for people at the age of 70 and over. No contributions had to be paid, though no one could receive the pension if his income from other sources exceeded £21 a year.
  • The criticisms mainly from the Labour Party, was that 5 shillings was a very small amount and Labour wanted the pensions at 65 arguing that many of the elderly would not survive until 70 to enjoy it. 
  • Nevertheless, the pension was enormously popular and DLG gained all the credit for it, though the bill had been prepared by Asquith and DLG only handled the final stages after taking over as Chancellor of the Exchequer on Campbell-Bannerman's death.

Measures to help Working People

  • A Workmen's Compensation Act (1906) extended the previous act of 1897 to include all categories of worker and also allowed compensation for injuries caused by industrial conditions and accidents. 
  • The Merchant Shipping Act (1906) introduced stringent regulations covering standards of food and accommodation for crews on British registered ships
  • The Coal Mines Act (1908) introduced a maximum of 8-hour working days for miners. 
  • Labour Exchanges (1909) were set up by Churchill and Beveridg. Employers with vacancies were to inform the Labour exchanges so that the unemployed could easily find out what jobs were available .
  • The Trade Boards Act (1909) was another of…


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