Welfare `amendments' (`1832-1948) Address the Problem of Poverty

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From 1832 - 1948 successive governments introduced a series of Welfare `Amendments' which undoubtedly addressed the problem of poverty. This can be proved by analysing 4 significant periods between these times. First of all there was the Poor Law Amendment Act which was introduced by the Whig government. This was designed to investigate in which poor relief was being granted. The later 19th century saw the introduction of various Public Health Acts by the Conservative government. These had a

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By 1828 up to 12 million were claiming out relief and the economic cost was around £8 million per year.

As a result of increasing pressure on the current system, in 1832 a Royal Commission was set up by the Whig government to investigate the "poor law" under which poor relief was provided by parishes. The investigation began with 26 commissioners, the most prominent being Edwin Chadwick. They visited about 3000 parishes and towns to find out details of the poor law administration. Questionnaires were also sent out. In 1834 the report was complete and the results were put to the government. The act was based on the belief that poverty was caused by laziness and as a result new strict rules were enforced. The report showed that the current system was costly and encouraged pauperism as a result of their generosity. Commissioners believed that family allowances led to bigger families. In relation to this they decided that no able bodied person was to receive money or any other form of help from poor law except in workhouse. To encourage more people into working, the workhouse was to become more of a deterrent by making conditions worse than the poorest paid labourer. If any pauper was willing to enter the workhouse it was only then "poor relief" would be granted. This was known as the "workhouse test." It was believed that if poor relief were at standards lower than any employer would ensure then surely they
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