War & the Transformation of British Society c.1903-28

Child Welfare & OAPs


Child Welfare & OAPs

Liberals introduce a series of measures to help both young & old.

Child Welfare Measures:-

1906 School Meals Act - Local Authorities had to pay for meals for poorest kids. {By 1914 -150,000 kids received free school meals}

1907 School Medical Service - Most kids of poor never saw Dr. Local Authority had to supply Medical Service at Schools giving Free treatments. Helped doctors treat skin & hair diseases such as 'Scabies' & 'Impetigo'.

1908 Children's Charter - Kids under 16 couldn't buy cigarettes or enter pubs. Parents could go to court if they were cruel to their kids or allowed them to beg.

Old Age Pensions:-

1909 Pensions were paid to all people over 70 who had an income < 12 shillings (60p) per week. {This was over 60% of all people over 70}. Pensions were between 1 shilling (5p) & 5 Shillings (25p) a week depending on income. The money came from goverment funds.

Critisms of pension cos not many people lived to 70 & 5 shillings not enough to live on.

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Labour Exchanges & The National Insurance Act

Liberals wanted to help unemployed & those not insured against sickness.

1909 Winston Churchill pushes thro' Labour Exchange Act. To save unemployed people tramping from one factory to next looking for work, an 'Exchange' would be set up that advertised job vacancies in an area. {Nowadays called 'Job Centre"}

1911 National Insurance Act - to provide insurance against sickness & unemployment.

Workers,Employers & the state paid about 1p each week into an insurance fund.In return could claim 7 shillings (35p) for upto 15 weeks, couldn't work & but had paid into scheme.

Applied to all Male workers who earned < £3 per week. (most of working class). Workers paid 4d (2p) a week into scheme, the Employer 3d & the state 2d. Worker could claim 'Free' medical treatment & 10 shillings a week 'sick pay' for 26 weeks if unable to work.

A male workers wife would get 30 shillings (£1.50) for birth of baby.

The scheme benifitted poor but was opposed by Doctors, 'who were not paid fairly for their work'. NB didn't apply to women workers,domestic servents,wives or self-employed.

Extended to Women in 1920

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Britain's Role On The Western Front

War Began in Tues 2nd AUG 1914 when Germany attacked France via Belgium using the Schlienffen Plan (german general - plan to fight war on two fronts). Britain's army was already on the match as it was honouring it's agreement to protect Belguim if it was invaded.

1914 British Expeditionary Force (BEF) - Consisted of 100,000 well equiped men left the UK within a week & had no difficulty landing at ports on the French-Belgium boarder, as the Germans had been held up in Belgium. However Germans were advancing fast towards Paris.The French moved troops quickily north using Paris taxis etc. to halt the German advance.

Battle of the Marne Sept 1914 Week long battle between Germans & the French supported by the BEF on the river Marne north of Paris. They held Germans back, so Germans headed for channel ports.... six week battle for Ypres between BEF & Germans showed that it was going to be a long & bloody war.British held onto Ypres & the channel ports but BEF had lost half their men by Dec 1914.

Both sides suffered huge casualties & had to prepare themselves for long protracted war. BEF had defeated the Schlienffen plan to invade France.

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Britain & the Western Front 1915-17

Trench Warfare In order to defend themselves both sides "dug in" building more & more sophisticated & organised tunnels as the months went by, seeking protection from the weather & enemy machine guns. 'No Mans Land' was fortified with bared wire & machine gun posts...before long was a muddy wilderness of shell craters often filled with rotting corpses.

The continuous line of trenches stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland. Could not out flank it, so only direct assaults & try to break through. For 3 years generals on both sides tried this. They believed that with enough men you could break thro' ! The trench lines hardly moved but both sides suffered horrendous losses. (Battle of Loos Sep 1915 British lost 80,000 men in 2 weeks!)

The Battle of the Somme 1916 British General Sir Douglas Haig decided on a major offencive along the River Somme, he hoped by using heavy artillary to weaken the German front line. - 5 day bombardment of German positions along a 30km front.  -The Germans dug in deep trenches in order to survive the bombardment. -1st July 1916, 200,000 British troups advanced...walking only as carrying 30kg of kit. - In the 10mins after the bombardment finished the germans returned to their machine gun postions. - Britsh lost 20,000 men on day one, with 40,000 more injured. -Battle end in mid Nov. - only 14km of land was gained at a cost of 600,000 causalties. 

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