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Liberal Reforms Revision 1890 - 1918


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GCSE OCR Modern World History revision presentation - What you need to know about the Liberal Government's Reforms for your Paper 2 exam

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Liberal Reforms Revision 1890 - 1918

  1. 1. The Reforms of the Liberal Government Aim of the lesson: Revision
  2. 2. Along with the Conservatives, the other major political party was the Liberal party. The Liberals won a huge victory in 1906 election. Liberals =401 seats Conservatives = 157 seats Labour = 29 seats This was an amazing victory after two decades of Conservative governments.
  3. 3. The ‘New Liberal’ Party of 1906 promised to introduce social reforms to help the old and weak. It was a message the voters wanted to hear and Henry Campbell- Bannerman became the new Prime Minister. But why was the Liberal Party suddenly promising to improve the standard of living? The party had been in government before but had not made these changes. Henry Campbell- Bannerman
  4. 4. New Liberalism The creators of this ‘New Liberalism’ were David Lloyd- George and Winston Churchill. They had a number of reasons for wanting to turn the Liberal Party into the party of reform.
  5. 5. • One reason was that some people in the Liberal Party realised that the rise of the Labour Party was a sign that working people were not happy with the two big parties. Both hoped that concern for the poor would win votes from people who were turning to the Labour Party.
  6. 6. • Lloyd George was raised in a Welsh village and hated the English upper classes. He really wanted to improve the conditions of ordinary people in an age when MPs were not paid, most MPs were already rich men before becoming MPs. Lloyd George was unusual in not being rich.
  7. 7. • The work of the social investigators such as Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree had revealed the true extent of poverty in England. They had shown disease, unemployment and old age to be the causes of poverty, and not laziness as many people previously believed.
  8. 8. William and Catherine Booth The Salvation Army The Salvation Army used attention grabbing techniques to attract crowds and bring in money. It helped people to find jobs, train the poor and to give them a sense of purpose. However, they gathered lots of information about the causes of poverty and the poor. The starving and homeless, but honest poor Those who live by crime Those who live by vice
  9. 9. Charles Booth (1840-1916) Charles Booth refused to accept the official statistics that said that about 25% of the working population was living in poverty. He decided to find out for himself. He discovered that nearly 31% of Londoners were living below the ‘poverty line’. By this, he meant that they did not have the money to buy enough food, shelter and clothing.
  10. 10. • Lloyd George had visited Germany, the country which was quickly developing into the new industrial leader of Europe. Germany already had health insurance and old age pensions. It was hoped that the reforms in Britain would produce a stronger and fitter workforce, which would be able to meet the challenge of Germany. Unless the living conditions of working people were improved then Germany would become a more important industrial power and Britain would no longer lead the world.
  11. 11. • Between 1899 and 1902 Britain was at war with South Africa (The Boer War). Half the men who volunteered to go and fight were simply not fit enough to fight. If Britain was to remain the most powerful country in the world it needed an army capable of defending its empire. That meant much healthier people.
  12. 12. What were the problems facing the Liberals? • Education Education was a vital if Britain was to have a modern workforce. By 1900 every child did go to school. In 1899 the school leaving age was raised to 12 and this meant that every child received a basic education at an elementary school. However, only about 1 child in 80 went on to secondary school.
  13. 13. Secondary education was not free and so most working-class people couldn’t afford it. Of course the very rich sent their sons to public schools, which aimed to turn out perfect Christian English gentlemen, and most middle- class families did sent their children to secondary school. But, in Germany, far more children attended secondary school. As far as education was concerned, Britain was losing out to its new rival. In 1902 the Conservative Education Act brought education under the control of local councils and have them the power to open secondary schools as well, but they were still not free.
  14. 14. Poverty At the beginning of the 20th century many British people lived in terrible conditions. By 1906 towns were very overcrowded. 75% of the British people lived in such towns. By 1913 half a million people a year were still dying from diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis and tuberculosis.
  15. 15. At the opening of the 20th century Britain was arguably the richest country in the world. Yet for many of the working class the problems was not just that they lived in terrible conditions. They were often laid off when there was no work and this meant no money coming into the household. Once they were too old to work, there were no pensions for them. The governments of the 19th century did not get involved in people’s lives. Nevertheless, in 1875 the Public Health Act was introduced. This made it the duty of the local councils to keep sewers clean and to remove rubbish from the streets. However, most councils did nothing to improve the slum housing.
  16. 16. Free School Meals (1906) •Local councils were given powers to give free meals to children from poor families •These meals were to be paid for from the local rates (local taxes on property) •By 1914, over 150,000 children were having a daily free meal, every day. •However, less than half the education authorities in England and Wales provided the free meals •In 1914, the Government made it compulsory for authorities to provide these meals
  17. 17. School Medical Inspections (1907) • Doctors and nurses went into schools to provide free compulsory medical checks for children • They could recommend any treatment that was necessary • Any treatment required by the children had to be paid for by the parents (until 1912)
  18. 18. Children’s Act (1908) • Children were now protected, by law, against cruelty from their parents • Poor law authorities were responsible for visiting and supervising children who had suffered cruelty or neglect • Children’s homes to be registered and inspected • Children under 14 who committed crimes were now not to be sent to adult prisons • Special juvenile courts to be set up to try children accused of crimes • Criminal children were to be sent to borstals, specially built to cope with young offenders • Children under 14 not to be allowed into pubs • Cigarettes or alcohol not to be sold to children under 16
  19. 19. Dr Barnardo The London in which Thomas Barnardo arrived in 1866 was a city struggling to cope with the effects of the Industrial Revolution. The population had dramatically increased and much of this increase was concentrated in the East End, where overcrowding, bad housing, unemployment, poverty and disease were rife.
  20. 20. In 1867, Thomas Barnardo set up a ragged school in the East End, where poor children could get a basic education. One evening a boy at the Mission took Thomas Barnardo around the East End showing him children sleeping on roofs and in gutters. The encounter so affected him he decided to devote himself to helping destitute children. By the time Thomas Barnardo died in 1905, the charity he founded ran 96 homes caring for more than 8,500 children.
  21. 21. Old Age Pensions (1908) • This gave weekly pensions to the elderly from the government • Everyone over the age of 70 got a pension • A single person received 5s a week and a married person got 7s 6d (later 10s) • There were some rules you had to follow to get the pensions
  22. 22. Labour Exchanges Act (1909) •Set up a national string of state labour exchanges •Meant that the unemployed could go to an exchange to look for a job •Much more efficient for those seeking a job and those offering them … •By 1913 there were 430 exchanges in Britain
  23. 23. National Insurance Act (1911) Set up an insurance scheme to prevent poverty arising from illness … 1. All manual workers and people in low-paid jobs had to join 2. Workers paid 4d for insurance stamps which they stuck on a special card 3. Employers gave 3d per worker in the scheme 4. The Government gave 2d for each worker in the scheme 5. If a worker in the scheme fell ill, they got sick pay of 10s per week for 13 weeks, then 5s per week for a further 13 week in the year 6. Workers in the scheme could have free medical care
  24. 24. National Insurance Act II (1912) Although there were about 10 million men and 4 million women covered by the national insurance scheme, a second act was necessary to deal with workers who found themselves periodically out of work 1. Scheme open to those in industries where there was seasonal employment (e.g. shipbuilding, engineering) 2. Workers, employers and Government all paid 2d per week for insurance stamps 3. When unemployed, workers could be paid 7s 6d a week for up to 15 weeks in any one year.
  25. 25. How effective were they? • It can be argued that the reforms were successful as they could have been given the SCALE OF THE PROBLEM when the liberals came to power • The Liberals were also distracted by the increasing threat of Germany and the expense of preparing for war. • Also the Conservative dominated House of Lords regularly opposed liberal proposals
  26. 26. • The Liberal reforms marked a transition point between the old laissez-faire attitudes and the Welfare State. • The Liberal years of 1906-1914 laid the foundations of a Welfare State. • Winston Churchill “If we see a drowning man we do not drag him to the shore. Instead, we provide help to allow him to swim ashore” • Basically means help them so they can help themselves.