The Last Years of the Poor Law During the interwar period the Poor Law served as a residual safety net, assisting those who fell through the cracks of the existing social insurance policies. The high unemployment of 1921-38 led to a sharp increase in numbers on relief. The official count of relief recipients rose from 748,000 in 1914 to 1,449,000 in 1922; the number relieved averaged 1,379,800 from 1922 to 1938. A large share of those on relief were unemployed workers and their dependents, especially in 1922-26.
Despite the extension of unemployment insurance in 1920 to virtually all workers except the self-employed and those in agriculture or domestic service, there still were large numbers who either did not qualify for unemployment benefits or who had exhausted their benefits, and many of them turned to the Poor Law for assistance. The vast majority were given outdoor relief; from 1921 to 1923 the number of outdoor relief recipients increased by 1,051,000 while the number receiving indoor relieve increased by 21,000. The Poor Law becomes redundant and is repealed
Despite the important role played by poor relief during the interwar period, the government continued to adopt policies, which bypassed the Poor Law and left it “to die by attrition and surgical removals of essential organs” (Lees 1998). The Local Government Act of 1929 abolished the Poor Law unions, and transferred the administration of poor relief to the counties and county boroughs. In 1934 the responsibility for assisting those unemployed who were outside the unemployment insurance system was transferred from the Poor Law to the Unemployment Assistance Board.
Finally, from 1945 to 1948, Parliament adopted a series of laws that together formed the basis for the welfare state, and made the Poor Law redundant. The National Assistance Act of 1948 officially repealed all existing Poor Law legislation, and replaced the Poor Law with the National Assistance Board to act as a residual relief agency. In what way might the legacy of the 1834, poor Law be seen in contemporary welfare policy? This essay will endeavour to highlight the advantages/disadvantages, and how the welfare state treats individual members of the community differently .
The historically changing conceptualization of the welfare state and its provision of social services the individuals democratic right to access the state provided benefits, are looked at in their historically and geographically changing existing structure. Conflicting conservative, liberal and socialist methods to the view of individual vs. collective responsibility are considered in the context of rival welfare state arrangements. The Poor Law was established and put into motion in 1601 during the time of Elizabeth I. The aims of the poor law, according to Golding and Middleton were work, discipline, deterrence and classification.
The poor law was the most important policy development dealing with poverty up until the end of the nineteenth century and it was a development, which main objective was upon control and deterrence. The Poor Law of 1601 lasted for over two centuries, but it was inefficient. Governments did not have the control, means or organisation to deal with poverty effectively. Poverty was a regional and national problem, and yet each local parish was left to deal with it individually The Poor Law cannot be seen just as a vehicle used to preserve life of those who could not feed, clothe or house themselves.
Rather it should be seen as a part of the social response of a society that was moving from a wholly agricultural and village based society towards an industrialised and largely urban society. What is the legacy?……. the welfare state of to day with social benefits for all and free medical help also education no one needs to starve in Britain. The idears of the older poor laws can be seen in to days welfare state as an extension of these poor laws through more recent governments.. (2011, 01).
In What Way Might the Legacy of the 1834, Poor Law Be Seen in Contemporary Welfare Policy?. StudyMode. com. Retrieved 01, 2011, from http://www. studymode. com/essays/In-What-Way-Might-The-Legacy-549882. html Modern welfare state development is generally considered to lead to social security or benefits payments, social housing provision, health provision, social work and educational services. Together these services are known as the ‘big five’ but these services tend to develop over time and have differed in quantity, availability and quality.
Provision and development can change due to social, economic and political factors (Spicker, 1995, p. 3). State provision of welfare has a long history, in Britain for instance dating back to the Elizabethan Poor Laws and earlier. Welfare states started to develop when surveys of poverty by people such as Charles Booth showed the inadequacy of welfare provisions that could not deal with poverty particularly with increasing urbanisation and industrialisation (Thane, 1996, p. 7). The worldwide depression from 1929 would lead countries to consider further welfare developments.
High unemployment (12% of the working population in Britain at its worst) showed that better welfare provision was needed (Robbins, 1994, p. 208). From such modest roots the public sector in Britain for example represents around 40 % of the economy (Simpson, 2005, p. 4). There are various key theories that seek to explain the processes involved in welfare state development that will be explained below. The theories have evolved or being devised to explain the differences and similarities in welfare state development in different countries at the same time or in a single country over a period of time.
Theories agree that welfare states were developed to serve those that needed help the most or sometimes as universal services to all (O’Brien and Penna, 1998, p. 2). After the main theories have been discussed the one or ones that are most applicable for evaluating contemporary changes will be outlined. There are different ways of looking at the development of the welfare state and deciding how far it should extend, demands. (2013, 01). Welfare State. StudyMode. com. Retrieved 01, 2013, from http://www. studymode. com/essays/Welfare-State-1342080. html
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