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Liberal Reforms (1906-1914)

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Introduction

Liberal Reforms Extended Essay. To what extent did the Liberal Reforms (1906-1914) improve the lives of the British people? Prior to the Liberal Reforms between 1906 and 1914 British people in and out of poverty had had to take care of themselves. The Conservatives had been running the country for almost 20 years and many people were in desperate need of change. In 1906 the liberals were elected and were led by Campbell Bannerman, however he made little attempt to solve the problems facing Britain, with the exception of that Education (Administrative provisions) act and the Education (Provision of meals) act. A short while later Asquith became prime minister and with his appointments David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, they began to battle against poverty and introduce effective reforms. The five most vulnerable groups in society which suffered were: the young, the old, the sick, the employed and the unemployed of Britain at the time. Children hadn't received good education and were unable to find good jobs and earn decent wages because of their poor education. They often died of malnutrition and they had very poor diets as school's rarely provided school meals and medicine to protect them. They were also extremely unclean. The only way that children could hope to stay alive was through their beggars income, which even then covered very little of the basic necessities. The old suffered as they were on fixed pensions and as the prices rose through recession their money became worthless and they couldn't afford basic necessities anymore. The old desperately needed money to keep them above the poverty line. The sick were suffering from poverty as they weren't able to find decent, well paying jobs because they weren't fit enough to work. The unemployed suffered from terrible poverty as they weren't able to maintain a good job, or find a new one. They never had money coming into their household and therefore never managed to keep above the poverty line. ...read more.

Middle

However, the act showed some weakness as the scheme was only granted to over 70's and terms and conditions applied, which were very harsh. So the act helped ease stress and anxiety but wasn't very successful in the long run. The third large group that were vulnerable to British society were the sick. There was one important act introduced to aid the sick through recession and British poverty among the lower and working classes. Prior to this reform the sick had been viewed as perhaps the most vulnerable group in society during the times of the poverty crisis. The sick were affected greatly as the biggest cases of illness and disease occurred within the working classes and peasants, which meant that they couldn't afford proper health care or medicine to try and help them get better. Also, as they were sick they couldn't get good well paying jobs as employers weren't willing to hire a sick person and risk the rest of his employees getting sick aswel. The act introduced to aid the sick from the poverty crisis was the National Insurance Act part I of 1911. This act saw the sick receive free medical inspections and treatment which were free, which would restore them to full health and they would be able to find decent jobs and earn some money to keep them above the poverty line. Lloyd George had been impressed with the German's methods to helping the sick, on a trip to Germany and wanted to continue a similar idea in Britain. The act was very flawed and Lloyd George admitted this himself by saying that he thought the act needed more work, but this was all the liberals could do at that time. The insurance from the sick had to be taxed from their small wages and minimal income. This made the government feel guilty for taking what little money they had left to buy into an insurance scheme. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, the reforms meant that coal miners would be granted fewer working hours and wouldn't catch terrible diseases and suffer from toxic fumes. Also shop workers didn't have to work for long hours and even got a lunch break. However, the reforms showed flaws as the acts didn't apply to all trades and the Trades Board act was completely unsuccessful at defining a minimum wage. In conclusion it can be stated that the Liberal Reforms (1906-1914) helped improve the lives of the British people to a great extent. Children were benefited as they were granted at least one hot meal a day, they received free medical inspections and were protected from abuse and secondary education was compulsory. However, the lost their beggar's income and the diseased that could be identified didn't have to be treated. The old were benefited as they received good pension which would support them and give them a relaxing future. However, it was a fixed pension that didn't keep them out of poverty, as not enough money was provided. The sick were benefited as they received free medical inspections and treatment and were covered under the insurance scheme, for a low cost. However, they found it hard to find work as employers were reluctant to employ the sick incase they infected the rest of the employees. The unemployed were helped to find work with the introduction of Labour Exchanges which were very beneficial. However it was flawed as they only received 15 weeks of payment a year which didn't cover the basic necessities. The employed were benefited as their working conditions were improved and their hours as well as their wages increased cut to keep them healthier. However the conditions only applied to some trades. Therefore it is apparent that the Liberal Reforms introduced between 1906 and 1914 helped improve the lives of the British people to a great extent. ?? ?? ?? ?? Clare Leanney ...read more.

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