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To what extent can it be argued that the Liberals laid the foundations of the Welfare State between 1905 and 1915?

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Introduction

To what extent can it be argued that the Liberals laid the foundations of the Welfare State between 1905 and 1915? A welfare state is a public assistance program that provides at least a minimum amount of economic security to people whose incomes are insufficient to maintain an adequate standard of living. These programs generally include such benefits as direct financial aid to individuals, subsidised medical care. It is the concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The general term may cover a variety of forms of economic and social organisation. Where the Liberals lay the foundations for the welfare state between 1905 or was it laid after 1915 by a conservative government after the Great war? Pre-1905 there was an unequal diversion of wealth in Great Britain, 2% of the population owned over 70% of the nations wealth and about 30% lived on or below the poverty line. The country had serve health problems with 60% of people how volunteered for the Boer War were rejected on health grounds. ...read more.

Middle

This act allowed compensation for industrial diseases, for workers earning less than �250m pa; it covered two million workers. Other acts put forward were the 1906 Merchant-shipping act which improved conditions in merchant ship. The 1907 Census of Production, the 1907 Patents act which gave greater protection to British inventors. The 1907 Port of London Authority that established one large body to run the port, replacing the old private owners and dock companies and finally 1908 mines acts which limited workers to eight-hour days. At the same time the Children's Reform act was passed and consisted of four main acts the first was the 1906 Education act which gave children free school meals which where proved by the local county council. By 1914 150,000 meals had been proved, increasing children's learning as they where on longer under-nourished. The second act was the 1907 Free medical inspection, concerned about the state of the of children's fitness the government introduced a medical department within the Board of education. The results of this inspection revealed that one third of the children needed medical treatment but medical treatment was not permitted until after 1912. The third part of this act was that at least 25% of secondary school places had to be reserved for elementary schooled children. ...read more.

Conclusion

This scheme was a copy of compulsory health insurance that had been set up set up in Germany by Bismarck. The Insurance was set up into two parts the first part was the National Health Insurance, which dealt with sickness benefits. Ill workers got 10 Shillings a week if they where male and 7/6d for a women, free treatment from a panel Doctor and approved medicines covered 15million workers. The second half of the National Insurance Act was unemployment insurance. Unemployment benefit for workers in seven industries often affected by seasonal or temporary unemployment such as building, engineering and shipbuilding. This insurance covered 2.5million men who paid 2 d a week, and received seven shillings a week for the first 15 weeks of unemployment in any 12-month period. Britain was the first country to have unemployment insurance but once it was introduced even the Tories never abolish it. In conclusion it is obvious that the Liberals did lay the foundations to the welfare state as a lot of there ideas are still in use or have been adapted to the modern way of life. The pension could be an example of a failure of the early welfare state as it was inadequate and distant from the real needs of the people and so eventually failed. Although it was the Liberals who laid the foundation it was the Conservatives who continued to build the Welfare State. ...read more.

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