New Liberalism 1902-1918: Background before the Course

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Attitudes to Public Health

  • Government followed policy of Laissez-Faire which meant to 'leave alone'.
  • Many health scares occurred such as the spread of cholera
  • The Government believed it was the local councils responsibility to clean up
  • There was never a law to compel companies to clean up their sewage/waste
  • 1893-1903: 37% of army recruits were rejected as medically unfit
  • Most men volunteering for the Boer War were turned away due to poor health
  • Issues such as TB, rickets and polio could have been prevented but were prevalent amongst the poor

National Efficiency: Ability to have a healthy workforce (this increases productivity)

  • Britain wanted to maintain its economic supremacy
  • The strain of protecting its empire was showing
  • Campaigners argued national policies should be introduced to tackle poverty
  • Royal Commission showed there was a decline in fitness amongst children
  • Prosperity and security needed to be maintained
  • People were expected to save wages but few could causing dread of sickness, unemployment and retirement due to no pensions

The Poor Law in the 19th Century

  • 1834: New poor law was introduced
  • Some thought it would reduce the cost to look after the poor, take beggars off the street and encourage the poor to…


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