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The Winding Road to the Welfare State$
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George R. Boyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691178738

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691178738.001.0001

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Living Standards in Edwardian England and the Liberal Welfare Reforms

Living Standards in Edwardian England and the Liberal Welfare Reforms

(p.169) 6 Living Standards in Edwardian England and the Liberal Welfare Reforms
The Winding Road to the Welfare State

George R. Boyer

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that the Liberal Welfare Reforms of 1906–11, which created a safety net reducing the economic insecurity associated with industrial capitalism, marked a watershed in the history of British social welfare policy. Their timing is explained by increased middle-class knowledge of workers' insecurity and by the greater willingness of Parliament to act as a result of growing working-class political influence. The chapter then compares British social welfare policies with social policies elsewhere in Western Europe. Britain's welfare reforms did not take place in isolation—several European nations adopted social welfare policies in the decades leading up to 1914. Indeed, Britain was a bit of a latecomer in the adoption of social programs, although it caught up quickly after 1906 and by the eve of the First World War was a leader in social welfare protection.

Keywords:   Liberal Welfare Reforms, economic insecurity, industrial capitalism, British social welfare policy, welfare reforms, social welfare policies, social welfare protection

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