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

Why did the New Liberals attach so much importance to the reform of social welfare provision?

Extracts from this document...


Why did the New Liberals attach so much importance to the reform of social welfare provision? A variety of ideological, social, economic and political factors came together towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries that stimulated an unprecedented reform of social welfare provision. Policies were spearheaded by a wilful phalanx of radicals within the Liberal Party after their 1906 election victory. The Ministry's reforms included old age pensions (1908), established labour exchanges (1909), trade boards (1909), a National Insurance scheme covering sickness, invalidity and unemployment (1911) and a Miners' Minimum Wages Act (1912). In the era of early 20th century mass politics feeling grew that the party who did not champion the importance of social reform would lose out to those that did. The largely enfranchised working class were increasingly deemed to be living in conditions that were unacceptable to them and 'New' Liberals humanitarian principles. Economically Britain was facing competition from Germany and the USA, chiefly in terms of a productivity gap that was in part caused by the country's inability to resolve problems of 'National Efficiency'. Germany had an impressive welfare system already that centred on keeping the work force and her armies healthy. ...read more.


Churchill's proposal to achieve this and one representative of 'New' Liberals was to 'draw a line'. Above it principles of Laissez-faire would run as before but below the 'left out millions', of whom he claimed the Liberal party was the party of, should not be allowed to fall below. His speech in Glasgow in 1906 unequivocally commits 'New' Liberal theory to becoming the party's social policy, 'The ever growing complications of civilisation create for us new services which have to be undertaken by the state. I should like to see the state embark on various novel and adventuruous experiments... the universal establishment of minimum standards of life and labour and their progressive elevation as the increasing energies of production permit.' While 'New' Liberals appreciated some individual's rights would be infringed they realised that the benefits to individuals, society, the economy, Britain internationally and the Liberal party's survival were potentially great and pressing. Individuals and society would benefit in that the range of public goods such as Defence would be broadened to include welfare services such as education and health. Historically the market delivered these yet by placing them in the public sector under the finance of the budget the users would enjoy non-rivalness and non-excludability. ...read more.


Thus in the same policy of social reform the Liberals could 'harness to their cause large sections of the middle class who would be frightened into reaction by a party based solely on labour.'5 The working class would be deterred from operating programmes outside the Liberal party exclusively for its own ends. This deterrent would simultaneously quell middle class fears about them doing so. Regardless of the ideology's re-alignment towards supporting a welfare state am independent political need had emerged. Classical Liberalism, 'New' Liberalism nor humanitarian principles entirely explain why the Liberals of 1906 - 1914 attached so much importance to the reform of social welfare provision. Redistribution of welfare was a drum the Labour Party and its associates were beating with considerable force by the early 20th century. Social welfare reform became a necessity to pre-empt working class political growth that would eventually challenge the Liberal Party if left unchecked. At the same time it was also a necessity to tackle neglected social, economic and military issues of a nation that could only be done so through a programme of social welfare reform. The ascendancy of necessity and humanitarian compassion for social welfare provision over its numerous costs resulted in the 'New' Liberals attaching a great deal of importance to its reform. ...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 Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 Political Philosophy essays

  1. Is the 'New Right' a departure from or a continuation of traditional British Conservatism?

    The New Right had come to exist after a period of gradual change and modification to Conservatism which began under Edward Heath. The 1979 Party manifesto contained many similarities with one of 1970. Admittedly, this does not account for what came after, in subsequent General Elections.

  2. Is the Liberal perspective on world politics too idealistic?

    One such example was the trial of Slobodan Milo´┐Żevic for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Yugoslavia war. Futhermore, increased economic ties between countries resulted somewhat in the decline of the significance of nation borders. Nations are not neccesarily seeing security as the primary concern.

  1. How far and to what extent, have modern liberals departed from the ideas of ...

    However, democracy endures in many 'liberal' systems due to the lack of a creditable alternative. The concept of a limited state opened a new battleground between modern and classical liberals, in the field of economics. Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (1776)

  2. Analyse The Main Features of Classical Liberalism

    However Mill did impose any restrictions on the individual that were designed to prevent a person from damaging themselves, either physically or morally. 'self-regarding' actions and 'other-regarding actions' can be seen as vague, and ambiguous. As a person going to a shop and buying a packet of crisps can be

  1. What is New Imperialism?

    Furthermore Schumpter and Langer claim that imperialism is not driven by capitalism and is supported by non-capitalist factors and psychological ingredients (Wright, 1961). The development of new imperialism has also been explained in terms of Accumulation Theory and World Systems Theory.

  2. Compare and Contrast the Classical Liberal position with the Conservative position on the issue ...

    People who come from the Clasical Liberal ideology embrace "individual rights, private property and a laissez-faire economy, a government that exists to protect the liberty of each individual from others, and a consitution that protects individual autonomy from governmental power" (Heywood, 2003; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

  1. The Parliamentary Reform and Redistribution Act of 1884 - 1885.

    to tell from the sources that the Reform Act and the Redistribution Act aided the Working Class in the right to vote thus increasing the ability to show their views in Parliament, this meant that a party was needed to work with them and express their views in Parliament, thus

  2. Is humanitarian intervention justifiable?

    This is related to the idea of global interconnectedness, currently there are several countries that depend on another for a key reason, for example the exporting and importing of goods. As a result this leads to these countries siding with each other in matters of hardship for either one of them.

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