Social policy and society 2 - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: 1834 Poor Law Social policy in Britain has evolved over a long period of time. The first laws on social policy were the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 which made it an obligation for local authorities to relief the poor in terms of medical assistance, unemployment assistance and broken down families (Block & Somer, 2003)…
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Download file to see previous pages The Act also contained the ‘eligibility clause’ to constrain able-bodied men from seeking poor relief and to encourage them to get into employment. Those who are eligible for relief were put in workhouses where they were taught values of work and also worked hard for the workhouses (Thane, 2013). Their families accompanied them there although some were allowed help outdoor. Unmarried women were not tolerated and not offered support as they were undeserving. The deserving poor were the sick, aged, children and the mad. Deserted wives were also in problems as they were required to be offered relief in husband’s birth town where they felt lonely and dejected. The needs of women were thus neglected by this Act. The social policies that followed such as the National Insurance Act of 1911 were based on the 1834 Act. They assumed a stable two-parent family with the father as wage earner. The social policy is mostly beneficial to working men although women especially the unmarried receive some consideration. Social Policy 1900-1914 The poor law was not a favourite for man as it was viewed as a means of denying workers higher wages to save for future use and take care of their needs just as capitalists do. The right to work movement in 1890s and women guilds were vital in pressuring the government to institute reforms. However, social reform was only popular when it was implemented by liberal government in 1906 (Thane, 1984). The 1902 Midwives Act gave midwives licences for their trade. Another progress was the 1906 Education Act which provided free meals and medical insurance to schools. The Children Act 1908 replaced the family thus introducing state care of children. In same year, Old Age Pensions Act was put in place to assist those in their 70s. It was non-contributory and income-tested (Thane, 1984). An employment agency was established through the Labour Exchange Act 1908 to assist able-bodied people to get employment. 1911 saw the introduction of National Health Insurance and unemployment insurance. Part 1 of the Act dealing with NI gave individuals right to cash benefits to cater for sickness, disability benefits, access to general practitioners, free access to voluntary and poor law hospitals and maternity benefits (Thane, 2011).These benefits were offered to those with earnings below ? 160 per year and below age 70. Unemployment insurance was for those temporarily unemployed. Contributions were compulsory and made by employees, employer and government. Workers not in regular employment did not benefit from this policy especially because they were not members of friendly societies or trade unions who were the implementers of the plan. Welfare State 1940s The National Insurance and Unemployment Insurance Act of 1911 remained in force until the 1940s when the Beveridge report of 1942 recommended for its modification. 1911 Act excluded the poor and the least healthy mostly women thus increased poverty. However, the Keynesian economics of 1940s influenced social policy during the time. Keynesian was against free market and the idea that it can correct itself and viewed government intervention as vital. The use of fiscal policy (control of government expenditure through taxation) was useful in bringing the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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