• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Liberal Reforms (1906-1914)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Liberal Reforms (1906-1914) Between 1906 and 1914, the lives of many British people were improved due to the introduction of a series of welfare reforms by the Liberal Government. In 1906, the Liberals won the general election based on the values of "old" Liberalism, which favoured Laissez-Faire rather than government intervention. However, with the resignation of Campbell-Bannerman in 1908, and the introduction of David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill to the cabinet, these values were replaced by the values of "new" Liberalism. Both Churchill and Lloyd George were New Liberalists who believed that the state should look after the Welfare of those who could not help themselves. The government identified five main groups of people who were in need of help (the young, old, sick, unemployed and employed) and attempted to aid these groups of people by introducing several reforms. After it was made compulsory for children to attend school until the age of ten, it became obvious that many children were going to school hungry, dirty and/or suffering from ill health and hence were unable to focus on their work. This meant that children were not fully benefiting from the education system. Margaret Macmillan was an educationalist who firmly believed in the adage, "Feed the stomach, then the mind", and she pushed forward educational reforms. Also, the government had recognised that the national efficiency of Britain was facing decline, and decided to counteract this by first helping the young people of the country. Labour backbencher, William Wilson, put forward the idea of free school meals as a Private Member's Bill, and it was so well received in the House of Commons that the Liberals gave it government time. ...read more.

Middle

They were simply reflecting the anti-state attitudes of the "better-off" working class. The Old Age Pensions Act (1908) entitled people over 70 with an annual income of between �21 and �31 to between 1 shilling and 5 shillings a week of a pension. The maximum pension of 5 shillings per week was still 2 shillings short of what Rowntree considered to be the minimum necessary to remain above the "poverty line". There were, however, exceptions. For example, the recipient had to be British and had to have lived in the UK for the previous 20 years. The Old Age Pensions Act made many old age pensioners feel secure and independent, and alleviated some poverty amongst the old in Britain, making the Liberals, and Britain itself, look caring and considerate of the needs of the people. However, many OAPs were still living below the poverty line, and some did not benefit at all as their money went into the poor houses. Also, it could be argued that the Act was actually only introduced as an antidote to Socialism and that if the Liberals truly cared about the welfare of the people, they would have found the extra 2 shillings which were needed to ensure that old people were kept above the poverty line. The Liberals came to realise that reforms were needed to help look after the sick because they had recognised that if people were sick, it was through no fault of their own. Also, they wanted to improve the country's national efficiency and have a good workforce and military. When Lloyd George drew up the People's Budget in 1909, his aims were to tax the rich to finance the national insurance scheme that was in the pipeline. ...read more.

Conclusion

This Act vastly improved the lives of coal miners. Furthermore, the Trade Boards Act (1909) meant that Boards were set up to negotiate minimum wage levels for the badly paid, non-unionised "sweated trades" -box, lace and chain making and tailoring-however, no attempt was made to define what a minimum wage was. Finally, the Shops Act (1911) stated that shop assistants were entitled to a weekly half-day off and a reasonable break for meals, which went a long way towards improving their quality of life. Through these Acts, the government helped coal miners to achieve what they had wanted for 40 years (an eight-hour day), and granted shop assistants a half-day off each week. However, the lives of those in employment had not improved as substantially as they could have been; a minimum wage had not yet been introduced, and compensation was at the employers' discretion. Undoubtedly, from 1906 until 1914, many steps were taken by the Liberals in order to improve the lives of the people of Britain. Young people were cared for more than ever before and given more protection from exploitation. Old people were given hope, dignity and a certain amount of independence thanks to pensions, and the sick and unemployed were guaranteed an income. Also, the employed were given more rights, and were exploited less than in previous times. However, many issues still had to be addressed. The lives of the British people had not been completely transformed and what the Liberals achieved during this period was very limited. The most important development made during this period was that the government had finally begun to take some responsibility for the welfare of the people, which had been in the pipeline for a number of years. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a very detailed response and the author has very strong knowledge. It is well written and thorough but at times, unnecessary narrative precedes evaluation, rather than the author weighing up strengths and weaknesses whilst the reforms were being described. 4 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 16/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Describe how Cavour, Garibaldi, Mazzini and Victor Emmanuel II helped to bring about the ...

    Maybe we can say without Garibaldi's support, the unification of Italy may not have taken place when it did. A gifted leader and man of the people, he knew far better than Cavour or Mazzini how to stir the masses, and he repeatedly hastened the pace of events.

  2. How successful were the reforms carried out by Alexander II in the second half ...

    However, the new system suffered from numerous imperfections. For example, there was a shortage of trained lawyers and therefore the trial would be quite unfair and very disorganised. On the other hand, the new system was less corrupt, which is evident from the famous Vera Zasulich case of 1878.

  1. Was Charles I responsible for his execution?

    He, like Charles, argued with Parliament over money and, in 1611, did not allow them to meet for ten years. James also used his friends to help him run the country and rewarded them with titles and this further embittered parliament.

  2. Why did Labour win the 1945 election and lose in the 1951 election?

    Morisson, the Deputy Prime Minister, believed that "The very honesty and simplicity of the campaign helped enormously".

  1. How successfully did James deal with religious problems throughout his reign?

    of the church of England, that the original 39 articles of the Elizabethan church were correct and that the prayer book was all from the word of God. Although some accepted these orders, the more extreme ministers left the Church of England due to the harsh demands.

  2. What Was The Main Cause Of The First English Civil War?

    Many Protestants believed that Charles secretly followed the Catholic religion. Henrietta Maria was one herself and this did nothing but increase the speculation, many linking the sacramental direction in which the church was heading to the threat of Roman Catholicism and as referenced by historian Robert Clifton, a "fear of Popery".

  1. Does Alexander II deserve the title of 'Tsar liberator'?

    However, despite a clear need for emancipation, it is perhaps understandable that much of the nobility ? who owned serfs- were resistant to this reason and were reluctant to support Alexander?s first steps towards liberating the serfs. In Alexander?s speech to the Moscow nobility, in March of 1856, Alexander proclaims,

  2. Assess the validity of the view that the Rump and Barebones parliaments had no ...

    But was it competent and did it achieve in its "concentration on making basic government function" (Barnard)? While as already mentioned earlier the Rump failed to mark the Church with any real direction, with only 3% of its acts being on religion, it did produce various achievements.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work