How successful were the Liberals in promoting the welfare of the children, workers and the elderly in the years 1906-1914 24 marks
The Liberal party introduced many acts in 1906-1914 to promote the welfare of the children, workers and the elderly. Each of these acts showed they were trying to make a welfare state but each came with limitations. The main act concerning the elderly was the Old Age Pension Act of 1908. It was established to provide a pension of five shillings per week for a single person and seven shillings and six pennies for a married couple. However, on the elderly over the age of 70, when the average life expectancy was 50 years old for a man and 54 years old for a woman and they also had to be amongst the poorest to receive the full amount. Pensioners also had to be of good character if they wanted to receive, they could never have been charged for or known to have committed a crime. These pensions, then, were rarely given and only covered the cost of the bare minimum for survival. While the Liberals may have been seen to be trying to promote welfare for the elderly they were not fulfilling their aim successfully. The first of the Acts set up for the welfare of the workers was the Trade Boards Act 1909 which instigated the inspection of conditions in certain trades, effecting 200,000 workers who initially were mostly women. But this only covered the ‘sweated’ trades and ignored other workers such as farmers and on the whole there were very few inspections. So again while the Liberals were making some effort, the limitations of the act cancelled out the effects it was supposed to create. The next for workers was the Labour Exchanges Act 1909. This was designed to help unemployed individuals to find work and at the same time help employers to find workers. Two million people had been helped by this act by 1914 as in an average day three thousand jobs were assigned. While this act did not create jobs, it merely helped people find work it was...
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