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The Liberal Government of 1906 - 1914 tried to a great extent to set up a welfare state in Britain. They went to great lengths to improve the conditions for those living in poverty and to lessen the numbers

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Introduction

History essay - The Liberal Reforms The Liberal Government of 1906 - 1914 tried to a great extent to set up a welfare state in Britain. They went to great lengths to improve the conditions for those living in poverty and to lessen the numbers of people claiming help from the Poor Law and other charitible organisations. The government wanted " national efficiency " in the country and their plans to acheive this began with children and in schools. Education had become compulsory and many children who lived in the slums of Britain were going to school hungry. They found it difficult to concentrate and so school meals were introduced to give children living in poverty one decent meal per day. ...read more.

Middle

Problems for all children were not solved though as many education authorities ignored the provision of free medical treatment and school meals were not made compulsory until 1914. The Old Age Pensions Act was introduced in order to give the elderly enough money to live on so that they would not be dependent on the Poor Law and its workhouses. Pensioners over 70 could collect 5s. per week at their local post office but this amount was not enough to improve the situation as there was still a number of pensioners on the breadline. However, the government had abandoned its laissez - faire policy ( where they would not interfere with the lives of the public) ...read more.

Conclusion

Fixed minimum rates of pay were introduced and employers who paid less were fined for the offence. National Insurance provided compulsory health insurance for workers earning less than �160 a year, provided sickness benefit, free medical treatment and maternity benefits. It also provided compulsory umemployment insurance schemes for trades badly hit by periodic umemployment. All these positive moves helped a great deal to promote the problema of poverty but the problem of squalor and disease associated with living in slums was not addressed and a full employment policy was an alien concept to the Liberals. Although the Liberal reforms made improvements to the problems of poverty to a fairly limited extent, these were important first steps and showed the foundations of a commitment to the set up of a welfare state in Britain. ...read more.

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