How successful were the Liberal government in years 1906-1914 in bringing about political and institutional reform (24)
The Liberal government of 1906-1914 under Bannerman and Asquith is one often recalled for its extensive reform of the welfare system in the United Kingdom. However, it was their political and constitutional reform which caused the most uproar, as they were arguably the most successful government of the 20th century in regards to changing the way Britain was governed. Their greatest achievement was the 1911 Parliament Act where they managed to get the Lords to sign a bill limiting their own power.
When the Liberals came into power in 1906 the Conservatives held a startling majority in the House of Lords due to their representation of the wealthy and the landowners. This meant that if the Liberals wished to put forward and legislation or alter the constitution in which in which the Conservatives disagreed then the Lords could simply veto the decision whether or not the Commons agreed with it. This angered the Liberals, particularly Lloyd George who at the time needed to obtain £15’000’000 to go towards the welfare reforms and to new warships and planned to from the ‘Peoples budget’, which was tax this money from the rich. He believed this would gain support from the working classes by showing that they didn’t need to vote for socialists to have a say. The taxes were to increase the tax at over £3000 and £5000 and were to impose an inheritance tax of 20%.
The Lords did veto this bill and so it led to the first general election of 1910. The Liberals claimed that the Lords were the selfish rich who weren’t willing to help the country, whereas the Conservatives tried to appeal to the wealthy stating that this would lead to social revolution and that is was the duty of the House of Lords to block controversial policy that the public hadn’t voted on. The Liberals won with a 2 seat majority and the support of the Irish Nationalists who were...
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