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Liberal Reforms 1906-1914

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"How important were concerns about poverty in Britain in the Liberal Government's decision to introduce social reforms between 1906 and 1914?" It is widely felt that poverty was the driving force behind the liberal government's decision to pass social reforms between 1906 and 1914 after their General Election victory in 1906. Historians argue however that there are many other factors which had a role to play in reforms being introduced starting in 1906.These and other factors to be considerd include concerns about National security,National efficiency,,new liberism,industrial competition,political pragmatism,the Boar war & growth of socialism. The Liberals began a series of ambitious social reforms such as medical examinations for school children, free meals for the poorest students and a programme for slum clearance. Other reforms involved the setting up of Labour exchanges and the introduction of a basic old age pension scheme. Concerns about poverty were indeed great.Surveys by Booth & Rowntree showed the majority of the causes of poverty,where due to common belief ...read more.


warst to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.This was part of what forced decide that something in the form reforms had to be done to help the nation. The fear of another war was a huge concern considering that it would likely be with Germany.This was particularly a concern considering Germany had introduced a comprehensive social walfare & as an industrial nation was growing in status & power enabling it to summon a strong & impressive millitary power that could indeed pose a direct threat to Britain.Germany had already establish itself with Naval supremecy and a rival in Africa. Lloyd george's visit of Germany uncouverd many truths about how strong germany was & Britain needed to react in one form or another. Another factor that brought change was extension of the vote.The better off working class men could now vote which meant that 2/3 of the male population could now vote.Both political parties now had to develop policies or changes that would appeal to working class electorate voters. ...read more.


The reforms made only limited inroads into the problem of poverty. The pensions paid were inadequate and the unemployment benefits were limited to only certain trades, and then provided only for the employee and not his family. The government was prepared to intervene to help the poor, but the poor had also to help themselves by making contributions towards their benefits. Without a doubt poverty played a major role in bringing them about.Poverty was also a factor in the General fears of conflict with Germany. The extension of the vote which meant a working class majority with the vote.Add to the fact that a Working class voice that is the Labour party was also growing also propted change from a self-intrest point of view for the Liberals.These factors were important to understand along with new Liberism along with a more modern & intervening responsibilty to the role of the State. ...read more.

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