Why Was The Old Poor Law Reformed In 1834 And Why

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In this essay, we will discuss why the Old Poor Law was reformed in 1834. We will also discuss why the New Law was easily passed. Firstly, we will investigate the reasons why the Old Poor Law of 1834 was reformed. Secondly, we will focus the reasons why the New Law was easily passed. The Old Poor Law of 1834 was reformed because it could not cope due to the large numbers of people claiming poor relief. This was due to population rise, commercialisation of farming which left people with no jobs, decline of agricultural crafts, harvest failures, food shortages due to war, higher food prices and change in attitude to claiming social welfare as there was no stigma attached to being poor anymore. This led to different measures such as the introduction of the Speenhamland system of 1795. Having investigated the reasons for the reformation of the Poor Law, we will now focus on the reasons that led to the reform. There were six main reasons that led to the old Poor Law Reform to easily pass which were: a willing government, Tories were a minority, Climate change, objectors were not listened to, and a Report based on evidence collected by the commission of enquiry. However, out of the six reasons, we will discuss only two of the reasons which were; a willing Government and the fact that the Tories were a minority. The Government wanted to reduce what it was paying out to the poor hence set up a Commission of Enquiry which produced a report. The results of the report had detrimental effects to the poor. As the results of this report were very significant, three important changes to the law were made; ‘centralisation, less eligibility, and the ‘workhouse test’ which required everyone in receipt of poor relief to enter the workhouse, regardless of individual circumstances’. Blaug M, (cited in Murray 2004 p.23) criticised the way the investigation was conducted calling it
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