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Flashcards in Poverty Deck (23):

Why did the liberal government introduce reforms in 1906? [4 reasons]

1) Changing Attitudes
2) Social Reformers
3) The Boer War
4) Political Factors


What were the attitudes towards poverty in the nineteenth century?

Poverty was blamed on the individual. People were poor because they were lazy and wouldn't work, or they wasted their money.

Many politicians believed that each individual was responsible for their own welfare so they should work hard and save up for old age.


What help was available for the poor in the nineteenth century?

The only way to get help was to go into the workhouse. However conditions in the workhouse were intentionally bad to prevent people from seeking help.

Charities existed, but most people relied on family for assistance.


What is the workhouse?

An institute financed by the state where the poor did unpaid work in return for food and accommodation.


How did the attitudes towards the poor change in the 1900s?

People realised that poverty could be caused by many factors and it often was not the individuals fault. They also felt that the government should give more help to the poor.


What were social reformers?

Changing attitudes was partly because of social reformers. They produced undeniable proof of the scale of poverty in Britain and its causes.


Who were the 2 most important reformers?

Charles Booth
Seebohm Rowntree


What did Charles Booth do?

He carried out research in London and published Life and Labour of the People in London in 17 volumes from 1889 to 1902.


What did Seebohm Rowntree do?

He studied poverty and its causes in York and published a report called Poverty: A study of Town Life in 1901.


What did Rowntree and Booth find in their research?

28 - 31 percent of the population lived around the poverty line. This was out of no fault of their own.


What is the poverty line?

The poverty line means being unable to afford decent housing, food, clothing, health care or even the occasional luxury like a newspaper.


Why did the Boer war lead to social reforms?

In 1899, Britain went to war in South Africa. Half of the volunteers were actually unfit for service. The percentage of unfit recruits also varied based on where they lived. Many had been so badly fed as children that they had not grown properly. This was extremely worrying for the government. Unless something was done, Britain would not have a strong army to defend its interests.


How did political factors lead to liberal reforms?

Dynamic Individuals: Two leading liberal politicians, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, believed strongly in reform. They believed that social reform would make the people better off and the country stronger as a result.

Rivalry with the Labour Party: In 1906, the newly formed Labout Party did well, gaining 29 seats. The liberals wanted to win over ordinary people with their reforms so that they would vote liberal rather than labour.


What were the reforms?

Between 1906-1911 the liberal government passed a series of laws to help children, the old, the working and the unemployed.


What laws were introduced to help children?

Free school meals, 1906
School medical inspections, 1907
School clinics, 1912
Children and Young Persons Act, 1908


What were free school meals?

By 1914, over 150,000 children received one good meal a day from local councils. However, school meals were the responsibility of local councils. They did not have to provide them.


What were school medical inspections and school clinics?

1907, 1912
Children got free compulsory medical checks. However, medical treatment did not become free until 1912.


What was the Children and Young Persons Act?

Children became protected persons; parents who neglected or abused their children would become prosecuted.However, measures protecting children were difficult to enforce.

Children convicted of crimes were also sent to special prisons called Borstals. Borstals were not always better places for children than prisons.


What laws were introduced to help the old?

Old Age Pensions Act, 1908


What was the Old Age Pensions Act?

All people aged over 70 received 5s a week or 7s 6d for a couple. It was paid for by the government. The pension was not a generous measure and could be refused to those who had failed to work to the best of their abilities in their working life.


What laws were introduced to help working people?

Labour exchanges, 1909
National Health Insurance Act, 1911


What were labour exchanges?

Unemployed workers could go to government labour exchanges to find out what jobs were available in their area. By 1913, labour exchanges were finding 3,000 jobs a day for workers. However, many of the jobs in labour exchanges were short term and casual. The government did nothing to make the jobs much more secure.


What was the National Health Insurance Act?

If a worker was ill they would get 10s a week sick pay for 13 weeks. If a worker was unemployed they would get 7s 6d a week. It was paid for by worker, employer and government contributions.

The average working family could not survive on 7s 6d a week. Unemployment pay ran out after 15 weeks. The poorest workers resented to paying 4d per week from their wages.