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Social Policy The modern era - Essay Example

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Introduction Modern social welfare provision in Britain dates back to the Elizabethan poor laws and continues to develop with each period differing in quantity, availability and quality. However, the welfare state mostly developed as a result of surveys of poverty that showed inadequacies of poor law…
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Social Policy The modern era
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Download file to see previous pages This will entail use of the functionalist approach which views social welfare development as a response to emerging needs and the conflict approach that views the development as a result of labour movements. First, a brief history of social welfare will be given in order to understand origins and the workings of the old Elizabethan poor law which is the basis of welfare state in Britain. Next, the 19th and 20th century approaches to provision of poverty and public health will be outlined. This is to provide an illustration of early welfare provision and the key themes which have dominated this field for decades. The effect of political, economic and social influences on government intervention will be discussed especially the influence of industrial revolution on society and resulting social problems. The role of the liberal party which came into power in 1906 and labour movements in extending welfare provision will be explained. The effect of the great depression on welfare provision is also of great importance to understanding the increased state intervention during inter-war years. Lastly, a summary of the main points discussed will be given. In order to understand the development of the social welfare in Britain it is essential to understand its history. Much of Britain’s welfare policies emanated from the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601. It established parishes which were responsible for providing relief for the poor (Alcock, Erskine & May, 2003). It also established workhouses where those in need could be assisted and work in return. One could only get relief at his parish of birth and it mostly targeted men as women and children were regarded as dependents. According to Ritter (1986) the workhouses were meant to reduce the eligibility of men to social welfare provision by limiting relief to those in workhouses although out-relief was still being offered to the poor. This was also the origin of the dreaded term ‘pauperism.’ Those receiving relief were stigmatised and viewed as lazy members of the society who did not want to work (Dean, 2006). As revealed by poverty surveys, the Elizabethan Poor law did not alleviate poverty and was repealed in 1834. The Pre-war social welfare in Britain was dominated by the laissez-faire ideology and according to Walsh, Stephens and Moore (2000) increased state intervention in welfare provision. One of the factors attributed to this is the efficiency of the German welfare system in promoting economic competitiveness that prompted many nations to emulate the system (Dean, 2006). Thane (1996; 2011) argues that it was the industrial revolution in Britain in 18th century continuing into the 20th century that sparked reforms in welfare provision before WWI. The role of the liberal party which came into power in 1906 cannot be overemphasised as well as the philosophy of social liberalism prevalent at the time. Industrial revolution began in the 18th century and with it brought many economic and social changes that influenced the development of social welfare in Britain (Walsh et al. 2000). Before then, Britain was an agricultural country but thereafter transformed into a factory-based economy. The domestic system had been the prevalent system in 18th century and workers worked at own homes producing food for subsistence. They could work at their own pace and control their working conditions but due to industrialisation this system was replaced by the factory ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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