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The Unemployment Provisions of the 1911 National Insurance Act

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From Poverty to Social Exclusion: An Introduction to Social Policy 1. Outline and comment on the major Features of one of the following Liberal welfare reforms: iv. Old Age Pensions v. The 1906 and 1907 Education Acts vi. The Unemployment Provisions of the 1911 National Insurance Act The significance of the National Insurance Act of 1911was enhanced by the inclusion in Part II of a selective unemployment insurance scheme. The National Insurance Act 1911(Part II) aimed to prevent poverty resulting from unemployment by insuring workers against periods when they were out of work. The unemployment insurance scheme has been innovation at the time, and in one of the articles Churchill wrote in 1908 'the untrodden field'. ...read more.


and as a consequence the Act of 1911 established a ratio of one week's benefit for every five contributions paid. The scheme was compulsory in a clearly defined range of industries susceptible to fluctuations (building, construction, shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, iron founding, vehicle construction and sawmilling). The unemployment insurance was funded by workers, employer and government contribution, in which employees and employers paid 21/2d. (1p) each and the state subsidy was a third of the total, approximately 11/2d. (0.6 p) Benefits were to be 7s.(35p) per week up to a maximum of fifteen weeks. 'In all, some 21/4 million men were to be covered against unemployment, the major hazard in working man's life'. ...read more.


or trade depression' (Fraser et al: 2003/p.186). In this view nothing at all would be gained by deviation into moral aspects of individual responsibility. Nevertheless, there was some opposition in the country with some trade unionists still feeling that it was part of the attempt to regiment labour and to break strikes. 'Many workmen felt that the scheme was not a solution to unemployment but just a shifting around the problem'. (Laybourn et al: 1995/p.179) In conclusion the National Insurance Act 1911 gave the British working classes the first contributory system of insurance against illness and unemployment. Churchill defended the scheme as providing a lifebelt for those in temporary trouble, however it did not cope with the long term unemployed and it left out many occupations where there was short term unemployment. ...read more.

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