“To what extent did the liberal reforms in 1906-1914 improve the lives of people?”
The Liberal government introduced a series of reforms aimed at moving away from the Laissez-faire ideology and toward a more self help scheme aiming to move people away from poverty and to make Britain a better country both in health and prosperity; Churchill said “If we see a drowning man we do not drag him to the shore, instead we provide help to allow him to swim ashore”. To do this the Liberals aimed at giving aid to the young, the old, the sick, the unemployed and the workers; these groups will be discussed throughout the essay. These reforms were later regarded as the foundations for the welfare state. Children were one of the most critical groups for the government to help because they were unable to help themselves. They were also the next generation of workers and soldiers and knowing that war was looming meant that the government were very eager to improve their health. In 1906 an act was passed called “Provisions of Meals Act” which meant local authorities were allowed to provide free school meals for destitute children; however this was not made compulsory until 1914 and so only a few councils took it on board right from the start. These free school meals were effective in two ways; they were found to have vastly improved children’s diet and growth and also improved the children’s concentration during school. Parliamentary papers quoted “Children are unable by reason of lack of food to take full advantage of their education” this proves the point that children were so hungry they could not concentrate and benefit from a proper education. In 1907 the “Administrative Provisions Act” was passed which introduced free medical inspections in schools checking the children’s weight, height, eye sight and general health but it was not until 1912 that free medical treatment was provided before any illnesses were observed, but little could be done by poor families who could...
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