Role Of Welfare Reforms Between 1906 And 1914

1398 Words 6 Pages
The following essay sets out to critically discuss the assertion that the foundations of the British welfare state were laid by Liberal welfare reforms between 1906 and 1914. It will examine key influences that shaped welfare reforms between 1906 and 1914, and discuss the political, social and economic factors pre-dating this historic chapter in British social and political life. It will look back to the reasons for state intervention and reforms of the 19th Century to understand the relevance and impact these had in the Liberal reforms and the ultimate formation of the British welfare state in the 1940s.

It has been argued the consensus among historians is that the 1906 Liberal general election victory was not won on the basis of proposed
…show more content…
Issues of growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness were key components for social unrest in the late nineteenth century coupled with abject poverty, squalid living conditions, and the widespread use of child labour. There was also a distinct lack of literacy within the population and all of these problems were significant in the development of social policy (Walsh et al, 2000, p.41). Urbanisation saw a rapid growth of infrastructure in cities, with major issues in the public health sector. Slum housing, no sanitation, squalor and disease were rife due to a lack of even basic environmental health provisions. Support for the work of people such as Edwin Chadwick was not undisputed it was opposed by individuals in the form of wealthy landowners and the upper classes who feared the potential economic and political detriment these health reforms would cause. They viewed this as a conceivable upset to their current position within society (Walsh et al, 2000, …show more content…
The major reforms of 1906 to1914 marked a massive shift in ideology that many historians have been at pains to comprehend, as it seemed to run counter to nineteenth century Liberal policy (Hay, 1975, p.11). Initially the reforms of 1906 to 1914 began with the passing of implicit legislation designed to improve the general health and efficiency of the population by way of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906 with the provision of free school meals, the 1908 Old Age Pension Act and the 1911 National Insurance Act. This brings into question the grounds on which the law was based. Some believed it was on humanitarian grounds although many more believed the law was solely in the interest of the state and a means of economic and social control (Fraser, 2009,

Related Documents