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20th century liberal reforms

Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1906/6E7c58

Liberal reforms, 1906-1914

In 1905, the Liberal party took power and committed themselves to developing policy and legislation to help those in poverty and who could otherwise not help themselves. Between 1906 and 1914 the Liberal party passed a series of Acts and reforms which attempted to deal with the problem of poverty. These Acts focused on the old, the young, the sick and the unemployed, as well as those who were employed in low paying jobs and jobs with poor working conditions.

What benefits did society gain during this period?

The reforms passed during this period granted society the opportunity to provide support to those who were unable to otherwise support themselves. During this period, legislation was passed to provide provisions for free school meals and medical treatment for children, old age pensions, compulsory health insurance for low-paid workers, and unemployment insurance for those out of work. Those in work benefited from the Liberal reforms through restrictions on the length of working days, workmen's compensation and the establishment of trade boards to assess wages.

How were these reforms viewed by society?

Many of these reforms for criticised for not going far enough, but they provided a starting point for the development of a state funded support network.

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