Essays /

Effectively Did British Liberal Government 1906 1914 Deal Essay

Essay preview

At the start of the 1900s, Booth and Rowntree produced scientific surveys which revealed that Britain was facing serious poverty problems. They showed that one third of the British population were living below subsistence level and were unable to afford the basic necessities to survive. This circumstance resulted from a number of causes, often through no fault of their own, including unemployment, ill-health and old age. However, the traditional Victorian attitude to poverty was that it was self-inflicted and that if people were poor it was their own fault. The belief was that these people misspent their money and did not save up for any contingencies that may arise. Therefore, very little help was available for the poor as it was thought that they should help themselves. They were forced to depend on philanthropy or bear the terrible conditions of the workhouse, despite the stigma attached to it. The Liberals, however, made an attempt to change this when they came to power in 1906 and introduced a number of reforms such as health insurance, old age pensions and labour exchanges. They intended to offer more suitable help to solve the problem of poverty. The aim of this essay is to examine the changes the Liberal Government made and come to a conclusion on how successful the reforms were.

According to Booth, alongside ill health, old age was one of the biggest contributing factors to poverty as 27% of the poor in London were poor due to old age. Prior to 1908 there were few options open to the elderly and as they had no or little income of their own they had to finally face the harsh conditions of the workhouse or rely on their families for support. The Liberal Government attempted to solve this problem by introducing the Old Age Pensions Act in 1908. This was a non-contributory scheme, paid for by the central government which was available to British citizens aged over 70 years. Other criteria for being allowed to receive the old age pension was that the person had to have regularly worked, avoided imprisonment within the last 10 years and not be receiving poor relief. These pensions were introduced on a graduated scale with a maximum of 5 shillings for a single person and 7 shillings for a married couple. To a certain extent, this new scheme was successful. The elderly were now provided with a regular income, which gave them independence and this was very much welcomed by the old people. The number of people receiving pensions demonstrated this popularity. In 1909, 650,000 received pensions and by 1914 970,000 received pensions and these figures were greater than the Liberals had anticipated. Nevertheless, the government fully funded the scheme and gave as much as they could, for example, in the first year the government paid out over £8 million towards the Old Age Pensions Act. This Act was also very important in changing attitudes in society as the government was finally recognising that it had to look after the elderly poo...

Read more


0.69 000 10 11.75 13.5 14 15 160 19.8 1900s 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1914 2 2.25 20th 26 27 3 30 4 430 5 50 55 65 650 68 7 70 8 83 970 absenc accord account accus achiev act actual address administ adult affect afford age aid aim allow along alongsid alreadi also although alway ambiti amount anoth anticip appli approxim argument aris around aspect assist attach attempt attitud author avail avoid awar basic bear becom begin belief believ benefit beveridg biggest birth booth britain british build burden came care carri case caus central centuri certain chanc chang charg check child children churchil circumst citizen class clear clinic co co-ordin collect come comment compar compuls compulsori concern conclus condit consid conting contribut contributori control cost could count coupl cover creat criteria critic criticis daili day deal dealt declin decreas deem definit demonstr depend depriv derek despit difficult disabl dispauperis distribut doctor done dri due earn easi easier effect elder emphasi employ end england enter entitl erad especi essay even everyon examin exampl exchang exclud exist expens extent extra eye face fact factor fail famili far fault fear feed fell figur final financ financi find first flaw forc form foundat fragment fraser free friend full fulli fund futur gave general get give given go govern graduat great greater grew hair half halfpenni hand hard harsh health healthier help high higher historian holiday howev human identif identifi ill ill-health impli import impoverish imprison improv includ incom increas independ individu indoor infirmari inflict inform initi inspect instead insuffici insur intend interven interview introduc involv job key labour land last law lead less level liber lifebelt like limit littl live local london long look lose loss lot made main major make mani marri matern maximum may meal medic medicin meet met million ministri misspent mobil money much nation nationwid natur necess needi network nevertheless new non non-contributori non-season normal noth number nutrit nutriti offer offic often old one open opportun opposit option ordin outdoor outsid overal paid parent part parti particip pass pay payment pension peopl per percentag period person philanthropi place poor popul popular post poverti power pretend prevent pride prior problem produc provid provis put rais rate rather real receipt receiv recognis reduc reform regular reli relief remain remov requir resent respons result reveal right risk rowntre save scale scheme school scientif season self self-inflict separ serious servic set shill shipbuild short shortcom show sick side signific simpli singl situat size skill slump societi solut solv start state step stigma still strap strike struck subsidis subsist success suffici suggest suitabl support survey surviv tackl take taken tax teeth temporari term terribl thereaft therefor thing third though thought time toiler took toward trade tradit travel treatment type unabl undoubt unemploy unfit uninsur union unskil upper usual vacanc victorian virtual vulner wale want way weaker week weight welcom went whether winston wish within work worker workhous would year yet young