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Sociology Essay - The History of Welfare and the Problem of Poverty in England.

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Sociology - Welfare The Poor Law Act was introduced in England in 1601, before this the only basis of a welfare state was through connections between family friends and self-help. This new act meant that parishes were responsible for providing help to the poor. It created a compulsory poor rate and the creation of 'overseers' of relief. Furthermore it created provision for 'setting the poor on work'. This law acknowledged that care of the poor was a community problem and led to the poor being divided into two groups the deserving and undeserving poor. The 'deserving poor' were people who wanted to work but could not find work through no fault of their own. These people were given help in the form of food and clothes or maybe even money known as outdoor relief. Additionally there were people who were sick, ill and old these people were also given helped and looked after. For example orphans and children of the poor were given to tradesman to help them learn a trade known as indoor relief. This was because they were looked at as blameless for their predicament. (Bloy, 2002) The deserving poor... "On the whole shall not be made really or apparently as eligible as the independent labourer of the lowest class". ...read more.


Young people aged 13-18 could only work twelve hours a day. There were further changes to improve health and safety in factories and other places in work. An independent factory inspection was set up. The awareness of poor sanitation and the effects grew and steps were taken to improve sewerage disposal and a demand for a supply of clean water. From 1871 local authorities were required to employee medical offices to deal with public health issues. State support was also provided for education also began in the nineteenth century starting in 1833 with grants to support the work of church schools which provided some education for the poor. The liberals furthermore in 1870 started providing primary education, and in 1880 schooling became compulsory for the first time between the ages of 5 and 10. Towards the end of the 19th century attitudes towards the poor began to change however, the main view of the governing class in the last part of the 19th century was that state involvement should be kept to a minimum. The two most famous and inspiring were Charles Booth who wrote 'Life and Labour of the people in London' between 1886 and 1903, and Seebohm Rowntree, who wrote about the 'City of York in poverty' - a study of town life in 1901 (Lewis, 2009). ...read more.


Beveridge did not want the people to become dependent on the welfare system. Beveridge believed that as problems were solved the state expenditure would be reduced. He saw that with a well educated, fully employed workforce, fewer people would need to claim benefits. Furthermore better health care would significantly reduce the illness and so cut the financial burden on the state (M.Holborn, 2007). After the report was created it received large support from the government and most of Beveridge's proposals were introduced. It was stated by Pat Thane (1942) it 'caught the public imagination and came to symbolise the hope for a different, more just world. Some of the changes made because of this report were implemented in 1945 three years after the report was created. The Education Act 1944 created universal state secondary education and raised the school leaving age to 15 and came into effect in 1947. In 1948 the National Health Service was introduced, this allowed free services available for everyone including GP's and hospital services. After the war the labour government was influenced by the views of the Beveridge report and tried to maintain a high level of unemployment. Furthermore the labour government implemented the policy of publically financing the buildings of new towns and led the way to a major house-building which resulted in 1 million houses built by 1951 (M.Holborn, 2007). ...read more.

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