How Effective Were the Liberal Social Reforms in the Period 1906 to 1914?

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How effective were the Liberal social reforms in the period 1906 to 1914? In the early Twentieth Century poverty in Britain was a very serious issue. There were groups of society who had no way of tackling or rising out of poverty. Poverty was more evident in the North of Britain and in big cities, although rural poverty was also a problem. Particularly vulnerable groups were the old, who had no means of acquiring money. The young, were dependant on their parents’ financial status and good will, if they were not orphans. Seasonal workers were vulnerable due to the cyclical nature of their employment. Anyone who suffered from illness either long or short term fell into poverty because there were no sickness benefits. Women were another vulnerable group because they were always paid at a lower rate than men. There was no safety net for people who fell into poverty other than resorting to the ‘workhouse’ which had been established to deal with cases of extreme poverty in Trade unions had little power as the Taff Vale Incident of 1901 showed and Friendly Societies could only provide a limited amount of help. Attitudes to poverty in the early 20th century were quite unsympathetic many politicians from both the Liberal and Conservative party felt that poverty came from personal laziness. Both parties had an attitude of “laissez-faire” i.e. non interference from the government. This meant that they believed people should be left to sort out their own problems. There was an attempt by Joseph Chamberlin to introduce Tariff Reforms in 1903, money from this would be used to help the poor but this was very unpopular and was part of the reason for the failure of the Conservative Party to win the 1906 election. In 1894 the universal franchise was introduced, allowing all men to vote, unless they were in prison, or a lunatic asylum. The new voters had different
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