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With what success did New Liberalism use state intervention to improve living conditions between 1906 and 1915?

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Introduction

With what success did New Liberalism use state intervention to improve living conditions between 1906 and 1915. The Liberal victory in 1906 paved the way for the old Gladstonian Laissez-Fair attitudes opposing state intervention to be replaced by 'New Liberalism' attitude in favour of social legislation to combat social evils. A range of Acts were passed between 1906 and 1915, through the Lords to improve living conditions for the poorer section of society and covered children, the elderly and workers. The wave of social welfare that was introduced was revolutionary for the time but did have drawbacks due to some legislation not being universal and some unsuccessful in meeting its aims. Legislation and changes in societies attitudes toward the poor could be said to have changed due to the influence of Booth and Rowntree who had unleashed the truth of the horrendous living conditions around the country and proving that it wasn't due to old Edwardian opinions of too lazy. Living conditions around 1906 were poor due to the sizes of families, deaths of the breadwinner in the household and lack of pay. In 1906 the Education (provisions of school meals) Act was passed to respond to reports made by the Local Education Authorities which highlighted the issue of cruelty as malnourished children were subjected to education while being half starved which undermined the process of learning. With the introduction of this act free school meals were provided for destitute children by the Local Education Authorities. ...read more.

Middle

A major disadvantage to the scheme was that the average life expectancy was 65 and you had to be 70 to receive a pension so in the long run not many benefited in the end from the scheme. The ones that did live to receive it were better off than before but not to a great extent as the sum provided barely covered the bare minimum survival necessities. 1909 Trade Boards provided some protection for exploited workers in sweated trades such as tailoring box making,. The act enabled Trade inspections to report employers (who could be fined) who ignored the rulings. This Act set minimum payments for workers who were in industries vulnerable of exploitation and where no help could be offered from trade unions. This act was a success for the industries involved as it meant in some cases higher wages, less exploitation for workers in these trades, the restriction however were that not all industries were covered which meant living standards didn't improve for those people. 1911 Part 1 of the National Insurance Act was concerned with health insurance and provided a payment of 50p a week for a person off work because of illness. This lasted for 26 weeks, after which a disablement payment of 25p a week was made. Treatment and medicines would be given free to the insured person but not his family. This was provided for all workers earning up to �160 a year, the state would provide 2d, the employer 3d and the employee 4d. ...read more.

Conclusion

as a success as it lowered poverty levels however it failed to eradicate the causes of poverty which ever evident in society and constantly was a factor in reducing living conditions. Another factor that can make the legislation introduced limited in terms of success is the fact that the people collectively were not covered such as convicts or the insane which meant that their poor living conditions remained. On the other hand the Liberal legislation can be seen as a success as it provided what no other government in the UK had done and under the circumstances of tough opposition and growing poverty the liberal government managed to lower the levels and minimise to an extent, those living below the poverty line. The legislation introduced was implemented to 'improve living conditions of the poor', this aim was fulfilled portraying it to be a success. The impact of the reforms were that it helped the poorest neglected sector of society improve their living conditions and quality of life via a range of legislation which was focussed on providing the bare minimum of a safety net. These reforms produced the skeleton of the improvements to come and principles had now been ingrained like that of state intervention in order to counteract the social evils of the time preparing the foundations for the welfare state. Minimum standards were now set and the social legislation had provided fencing to the poorest of society to stop them falling into the precipice which was previously unheard of. ...read more.

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