‘the Liberals Failed to Deal with the Real Problems Facing the British People’ How Valid Is This View of the Liberals’ Social Reforms from 1906 – 1914?

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The Victorian Laissez-Faire system of social reform relied on voluntary contribution of the wealthy and the charitable to relieve poverty, rather than the now standard system of using money from universal taxes to pay for universal services such as public health and housing. The founding laws of this welfare state we now live in today where known as the liberal reforms, a series of legislation that encouraged a far more collectivist attitude to social reform that verged on socialism, dreaded by the upper classes. The 5 groups of people who benefited from these laws introduction were; The Old, The Young, The Sick, The Unemployed and the Employed.

The Working Class Elderly generation of early 20th century Britain where some of the hardest hit by poverty, since their lives where directly affected by how long they could work. Once the age came about where they were simply to old for work they had the choice of either the street or moving in with their families, if they were lucky enough to have them. In either situation they would either need to worry about food and shelter, but in the case of those with family they might find themselves as being a serious financial burden to already impoverished working class families. The liberal government attempted to relive this problem with the introduction of The Old Age Pensions Act of 1908, which guaranteed a universal pension for all persons aged 70 and over with an annual income above £20. The scheme was moderately successful, by 1914 over one million people where receiving pensions, but there was a serious set of drawbacks to consider, one being that very few people lived to over 70, had a qualifying income, or even had birth certificates to prove their age, and even if they did have all the vital requirements, the given pension was below the poverty line, so the only way to survive would be to use to relive the financial pressure of elderly people living with their family.

The young were the second group to benefit...
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