The Liberal Adoption Of A Policy Of Social Reform In The Period 1906 1914

1537 words - 6 pages

The Liberal Adoption of a Policy of Social Reform in the Period 1906-1914

There are many issues to examine when answering the question of what
prompted the Social reforms of 1906-1914 such as the changing ideas of
the British public and national efficiency which was decreasing. In
the period of 1906-1914, the social reform acts were passed in
parliament by the Liberal government under Herbert Asquith PM,
Lloyd-George MP and Winston Churchill MP. These acts laid the
foundations of a basic welfare state on which our current welfare
state was built from. These acts provided basic support for mothers
and children, the old, sick and the unemployed. These changes were
considered very radical considering they took place in Victorian
England and helped the poor who by popular opinion should not receive

With poverty spread right across England and ideas changing rapidly
this meant that the view that people were in poverty because they were
lazy and therefore worthless, became dated, mainly due to the works of
Charles Booth and Seebhom Rowntree. Soon after the turn of the century
new works were released on how people became poor, for example,
Charles Booth’s ‘Life and Labour of People in London’ and Seebohm
Rowntree’s ‘Poverty and a Study of Town Life’ (in York). Their ideas
stated that a third of people who were living in Britain were living
in poverty. In addition they were in poverty through no fault of their
own. Instead they declared people were in poverty due to unfair social
conditions, such as, low wages (due to urbanisation), old age or
illness which meant that they couldn’t work anymore. In many cases
there just were not enough jobs to go around. This knowledge among the
middle and upper classes meant that people no longer simply believed
people were in poverty due to laziness, and hence they were keener to
help them out of it. These factors show clearly that Britain in 1906
was in need and was prepared as a country for social reform as new
ideas came to light about the poverty situation. The Social Reforms
came about partially because poverty and its true cause were exposed
and people saw the harsh reality for themselves. This prompted
humanitarian concern among the educated and helped to induce the
Liberal Social Reform Acts because many of the population’s views were
changed as regards the poor.

Poverty levels were not helped by the great depression which meant
that a lot of people living on the ‘poverty line’ were plunged into
poverty as they lost their jobs due to overproduction this shows a
need for the Liberal social reform and was a catalyst to their
adoption of it because it means more people were plunged into poverty
and . Due to the Industrial Revolution many people from rural areas
had moved to find jobs in more urban areas. This meant a boom in the

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