Essay on Liberal Reforms of 1906-1914

798 Words 4 Pages
Liberal Reforms of 1906-1914

From the turn of the 20th century, laissez faire (the policy of
non-intervention in relation to social problems) became discredited.
The same old problems of poverty and ill-health still remained.

The Liberal reforms of 1906 to 1914 are very important because they
show a marked change in government policy from a largely laissez faire
approach to a more 'collectivist' approach. The government now
accepted that it should have a much larger role and responsibility in
helping those sections of society who could not help themselves.

In the latter part of the nineteenth century governments began to take
tentative steps towards the provision of basic welfare services, for
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This sum could be collected at the Post Office. A
smaller amount was paid to slightly higher earners. People who had an
income greater than £31.50 per year received no pension at all. Those
who had habitually failed to work or who had been in prison also
received nothing.

The major criticism of this Act was that it did not go far enough. The
money was not enough to enable people to pay for the barest
necessities and, although it helped, it was not the answer to old age
poverty. Also, many elderly people needed financial help long before
they reached 70 years of age. In fact most died before receiving a

'Children's Charter'

In 1906 the government allowed local authorities to provide free
school meals for poor children. In 1907 school medical inspections
began, although it was not until 1912 that free medical treatment was

Social reformers blamed poverty for causing crime among the young
people. There was also the view that by sending young law breakers to
adult prisons they would simply learn how to be better criminals. As
such, in 1908 juvenile courts and borstals were set up.

These reforms, including forbidding the sale of cigarettes and alcohol
to children under 16 years of age, were given the name 'Children's
Charter' because it was believed these measures would guarantee a
better life for young people. However, the…