What motivated the Liberals to introduce Welfare Reforms?

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What motivated the Liberals to introduce Welfare Reforms?

The growing awareness of the issue of poverty...

  • The need for social reform had been publicised by the studies of Seebohm Rowntree and Charles Booth. In surveys carried out between 1889 and 1903, Booth showed that 30% of London was living in serious poverty. Rowntree's studies show that the figures were almost as high (28%); he showed that men even in fulltime employment were forced to live close to starvation level. He recommended a minimum wage of 21s. 8d. to sustain a family of 5 at 'Spartan physical efficiency'. 

European competition...

  • The German people were in a fitter state than their British counterparts. At a time of intense international friction, and Germany, a possible military rival it was unwise for Britain to lag behind. LG, when introducing Health Insurance, 'We must put ourselves on a level with Germany... I hope our competition...will not be armaments alone'.

Political Pragmatism...

  • Liberals were under pressure from Labour and from trade unions; a limited amount of social reform may attract voters away from socialism and so defeat the challenge from…

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