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Work for your Dole Money

Ian Duncan Smith ,plus his Liverpool born deputy Esther McFey, introduce their new scheme to force long term unemployed to sign on every day and take unpaid work or face reduced benefits...
I wonder when the Workhouses will be opened back up ?

Well Done, Liverpool City Council....I agree , this scheme is leaning towards the Victorian class system in its principles ,and Totally Immoral..

2. The Poor Relief System

The Poor Law and its associated poor relief payments was an attempt to provide relief from poverty in Britain. It survived, along with the workhouses, until the advent of the Welfare State in 1948. There had been established procedures for relieving the poor since the middle ages, administered at first by the manor, religious houses, and parish clergy, and then by civil parish authorities after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. This position was codified in 1601 by the Poor Law, which empowered the parishes to pay poor relief from the rates. In 1834 the new Poor Law passed this responsibility to parishes grouped into Poor Law unions to be governed by Boards of Guardians. The new Poor Law made pauperism into a virtual crime, returning to the principles of the Elizabethan Act. The growing followers of Bentham considered the existing relief system too lax, the utilitarian creed emphasising the need to test each claimant rigorously for their appropriateness to receive relief. It was a strongly held belief in the nineteenth century that the poor would lose any desire to work and support themselves if they received aid from the state or a private charity. The system was designed to dissuade as many as possible from claiming relief, and impel them to go out and earn their keep. Central to this ethos was the institution of the workhouse. Workhouses in the nineteenth century were designed to be harsh and off-putting in order to act as a disincentive for those relying on poor relief. Work was long and menial; financial support was kept deliberately low. There was also a strict regime of punishments for transgressions of the many rules within the workhouse. The workhouse regime, not by accident, closely resembled that of the prison. The regulations stipulated that those claiming relief be offered a place in the workhouse, and if they refused, become disallowed from any relief at all.

Despite these regulations, 'outdoor' relief, which provided an alternative to the 'indoor' relief of the workhouse, did still persist. Outdoor relief was given to those making a claim who still resided in their own homes. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the workhouse, most people preferred to be relieved in this way. It was the often expressed aim of the Poor Law Guardians and the authorities governing poor relief, to reduce the number of outdoor paupers. Believing that a harsh workhouse environment would discourage all but the most destitute to find their own way out of poverty, it was natural for them to assume that indoor relief would encourage those able to work to go out and find employment. Yet the outdoor relief figures remained stubbornly high, as Figure 1 shows. Numbers of outdoor and indoor paupers varied nationally although in Bristol outdoor paupers nearly always outnumbered indoor paupers by at least 2 to 1, which was typical for an urban area. Though most able-bodied men and their families were theoretically excluded from receiving this type of relief, in practice many were able to circumvent the system and claim outdoor relief. A further explanation may be that the local Poor Law Guardians paid mere lip-service to the idea of reducing outdoor numbers. As Rose has shown, relieving people outside of the workhouse cost half as much as maintaining the indoor poor.(5) Given that the major imperative of the Poor Law Guardians was to reduce the costs of poor relief and so bring down the poor rate for their particular area, it might be suspected that they rarely attempted a serious clamp down on those receiving outdoor relief.

Those on outdoor relief were still expected to work for their aid. Again the work was back-breaking, long and arduous, for relief that was pitifully low. In fact Rose asserts that the Guardians deliberately maintained the outdoor poor at a level insufficient to enable claimants to survive without some other means of support Forum Index -> Liverpool News & Chat
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