Why, in the years 1906-11, did the Liberal governments embark upon an extensive program of social reform?

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A) There are a variety of reasons as to the implementation of social reforms in the period 1906-11, most to do with the general state of society at the time and the position of the various Liberal governments. One of the main reasons for the social reforms was the growth in awareness of the problems in Britain at the time. Examples of this include the work of people such as Booth and Rowntree who went the cities of London and York and conducted various surveys and studied the lifestyles and problems of the general public. They found that many problems existed in the cities like the fact that over 30% of London’s population lived in poverty line. Booth was known for his theory of London being divided into six classes with the lowest dragging the higher ones further into poverty therefore worsening the problem. The idea of a ‘poverty line’ being a good measurement was further supported and Rowntree found that 28% of York was living beneath it. This, like the work of many others, supported the findings of Booth and other researchers. As this information became more and more reliable and undeniable, the reality of the social problems became clearer to the government. Another example of where the government became aware of problems is when they found out that many of the soldiers in the army were not eligible to fight as they were not fit or healthy enough during the Boer War in 1902. Prior to the implementation of the social reforms, the government had a laissez faire policy where the idea was to leave the impoverished alone to solve their own problems so when it was proven that they were poor through no fault of their own, the government decided to act accordingly. The reason the program of social reform was so extensive is because the problems were far worse than anyone knew or expected. If the awareness of the levels of poverty had not been improved than it is far

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