The liberal reforms
Why was there reform?
-1906 - the Liberals got into power
- Changes to the voting system - At the start of the 19 century, only the rich could vote - so politicians only attracted the rich vote - but by the end of the 19 century, most working men did have the vote and the labour party had been established to represent them. Politicians of the existing parties had to adapt their policies to get the new vote - therefore the Liberals and Conservatives began to promise social reform.
- Leading characters - such as David Lloyd-George and Winston Churchill had emerged in politics - in the Liberal party.
- living conditions - industrialisation had meant that people lived in cramped conditions, which not only led to poor living conditions and the easy spread of disease, but also meant that people could now discuss their living conditions with each other.
- Booth and Rowntree’s reports - (see below)
- The Boer war (1899) - 40% of those recruited were found to be unfit for service due to poverty
- These reforms had to be paid for and everyone who was working now had to contribute - the money came from compulsory direct taxation and went to the central government for redistribution
What support was in place before 1906?
- The workhouse - Last resort - tough conditions but provided food & shelter. From local government. Deals with effects, not causes, of poverty.
- Sick - Link between illness and poverty recognised - outdoor relief offered. By the end of the 19th century, poor law hospitals offered some free treatment for work
- Unemployment - Local authorities allowed to provide work for unemployed
- Old - Outdoor relief or workhouses (indoor relief) - treatment improved throughout century
- Young - Either work (potentially in workhouse) with parents or perhaps have some schooling and/or staying with a local family
The sick, old, unemployed, poor and young were not forgotten completely, but only…