Why was there a crusade against outrelief in

Why was there a campaign against outrelief in the 1870s and what consequence did this hold?

The grounds for the campaign against outrelief of the 1870s must be seen in the context of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the traditional systems of hapless alleviation and charities and attitudes towards poorness and its causes in the 19th century, such as those revealed by the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and the Goschen Minute. The New Poor Law with its workhouse system had tried and failed to get rid of out-of-door alleviation, although the figure having it fell from about 1,000,000 in the 1840s to 500,000 in 1900 ( Murray 1999, 50 ) . The renewed campaign against outrelief in the 1870s had many beginnings, both economic and philosophical which shall be examined below after a brief background to hapless alleviation. It must besides be borne in head though, that there were a assortment of different state of affairss throughout the English parts and the UK as a whole and an illustration will be made of the Brixworth Union Workhouse.

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Outdoor alleviation, the alleviation or aid of the hapless in their ain places has a long tradition stretching back in jurisprudence to the Poor Law Act of 1601 ( Murray 1999, 16 ) . The indigent, orphans, the sick and the aged every bit good as the able-bodied hapless were assisted, the former sometimes in poorhouses but the latter were more frequently offered work, hard currency or nutrient Internet Explorer outrelief. Relief was the local duty of the 15,000 uneven parishes of England and Wales with costs met by local rates and the system administered by parish appointed superintendents. To battle an increasing fright, under the old Settlement Act of 1662 a pauper could be removed back to his parish of birth, forestalling parishes from being overwhelmed by migrating hapless ( Humphreys 1995, 15-16 ) . The rewards of the working hapless could besides be supplemented to run into high nutrient costs through such systems as that implemented at Speenhamland in 1795 which used the figure of kids and the monetary value of staff of life as standards. Other steps such as level rate payment systems or revenue enhancement interruptions for landholders using unemployed laborers were employed around the state: this was no national proto-welfare province.

The position that outrelief was worryingly expensive, was given to the undeserving, encouraged laziness and discouraged autonomy and thrift was common to both the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws 1832-34 and the Local Government Board ( LGB ) that replaced the Poor Law Board in 1871, whose secretary Mr H Fleming restated the rules of the New Poor Law ( Murray 1999, 49-50 ) . Outdoor alleviation, he maintained ‘extinguishes in the head of the laborer all motivation for conserving his resources, and induces him to trust entirely upon the rates alternatively of upon his ain nest eggs for such alleviation as he may necessitate. It removes every inducement to autonomy and prudent fore-thought…’ ( quoted in Murray 1999, 49 ) . It was besides thought that the augmentation of rewards by alleviation would cut down the recipient’s thrust to better himself and hence be unjust to the successful on the job category ( see Best 1971, 136 ) every bit good as disturb the operation of the economic system and natural freedom of the labor market despite the fact that the Settlement Act already prevented the free flow of labor ( Humphreys 1995, 14 ) .

These thoughts, prevalent from Bentham onwards, are besides found in the alleged Goschen Minute of 1869: GJ Goschen had been the president of the Poor Law Board from 1868-71 ( see text in Englander 1998, 104-5 ) . In his position alleviation was merely to be provided to the destitute non to the insufficiently waged since the enlargement of alleviation brought the danger of the hapless holding a legal claim to public money. This would degrade autonomy and thrift. Thus the Poor Law was to function merely the destitute while charities could assist those otherwise with deficient agencies. The First Annual Report of the LGB under Fleming ( see text in Englander 1998, 105-7 ) besides shows concern with outgo on outrelief by Guardians who fail to use workhouse trials and ignore the advantages of inrelief, every bit good as the supposed moral jobs stemming from outrelief. LGB inspector Henry Longley besides advocated close relationships between the Poor Law and organised charity, proposing that alleviation given of right ‘must tend to promote improvidence’ ( Humphreys 1995, 27 ) . In 1874 he recommended the tightening of outrelief against widows, disabled and aged on assorted evidences including ‘bad character’ .

In footings of an addition in outgo blamed on lifting Numberss and the laxness by Guardians in using the New Poor Law system and paid for by ratepayers, the official figures presented by the LGB seemed to demo an 20.6 % growing in the decennary up to 1870 ( Humphreys 1995, 25 Table 2.2 ) . So, although the LGB had moral concerns, their chief concerns seem to hold been economic and this was the trigger for the campaign against outrelief in the 1870s ( Humphreys 1995, 24 ) . MacKinnon has suggested that the willingness to travel along with the campaign by Guardians is related to be decrease and the altering systems of local revenue enhancement ( 1987 ) .

The indoor alleviation of the New Poor Law, based on the workhouse system run by the 650 brotherhoods, was intended to discourage people from claiming alleviation. Edwin Chadwick, portion of the Royal Commission was of the sentiment that workhouses should be ‘uninviting topographic points of wholesome restraint’ ( Englander 1995 ) . Indeed, the rigorous governments of these ‘prisons without crime’ involved segregation of households and married twosomes, uniforms and dietetic bounds amongst other things, although workhouses differed widely from the more humane and kindly topographic points to the beastly Swansea, Neath and Andover workhouses ( Henriques 1979, 49-50 ; Murray 1999, 41-46 ) . By cut downing the figure of those willing to accept alleviation, if the lone alleviation offered meant come ining the workhouse, the thought that those seeking alleviation were undeserving must hold been reinforced and those who refused alleviation were thrown back on their ain agencies, therefore promoting autonomy in the eyes of those runing the system. This might besides be considered to countervail the by and large higher costs of inrelief ( eg edifice costs, rewards etc ) per caput in comparing to outrelief.

Brixworth Union Workhouse opened on March 25th 1837 and within five old ages the cost of outrelief in Brixworth had dropped from ?1-3s-5d to ?0-9s-0d a hebdomad ( BVAC 1994 ) . The figure out-of-door paupers dropped from 1,100 in 1871 to under a hundred in 1890, although the figure of workhouse inmates hovered around a hundred throughout that period ( Humphreys 1995, 37 Fig 3.2 ) . It is besides clear that able-bodied work forces, those targeted in peculiar by the New Poor Laws and by Brixworth Union in the 1870s were ne’er the chief receivers of out-of-door alleviation at Brixworth. In 1871, the daycount of able-bodied work forces norms around 60, whereas the figure for non able-bodied adult females is over 350 ( Humphreys 1995, 38 Fig 3.8 ) . Due to the monolithic backdown of outrelief, Brixworth became known as the ‘dark part of rural England’ ( BVAC 1994 ) .

Although these figures from Brixworth show the decrease of outrelief, even rigorous Guardians had been forced by fortunes to supply outrelief. Many feared to come in the workhouse, for illustration, in Cuckfield in 1836, 209 work forces applied for alleviation and when offered the workhouse or nil merely 11 accepted ( Murray 1999, 42 ) . Three of these left after a few hours. At Brixworth ‘The Private Fund’ was devised to supply out-of-door alleviation to those who continuously applied and were rejected ( Humphreys 1995, 38 ) . The fact that outrelief was still received by 500,000 in 1900 shows that there was a sensed necessity for it ‘on the ground’ in order to get by with fluctuations in employment. In fact, every bit early as 1842 out-of-door alleviation was available once more in exchange for difficult labor and oakum picking ( Englander 1998, 29 ) . Local Guardians besides possessed cognition of local people and fortunes that may hold led to a more realistic practical apprehension of outrelief.

The campaign against outrelief in the 1870s was caused by frights of increasing outgo and the belief that generous or widespread alleviation to those other than the destitute was immoral, led to indolence and a unsafe trust on the province. The rise of organized charities encouraged by the Goschen Minute, sometimes in cooperation with Poor Law Unions, besides filled a spread in offering assistance to the meriting hapless. Local and neighborly solutions likely ever remained cardinal in offering private solutions ( Murray 1999, 122-23 ) . The apparent failure of the campaign against outrelief and altering attitudes to poverty seeable led by the Hagiographas of Booth, Rowntree, Dickens and others – that it was non ever deserved or escapable without aid due to factors such as irregular work and excessively low rewards proved influential in the development of the public assistance policies of the Liberal Party in the early 20th century ( Murray 1999, 87-93 ) .

Best, G. 1971. Mid-Victorian Britain, 1851-75. London: Weidenfeld & A ; Nicolson.

BVAC 1994. Brixworth Union Workhouse 1837. ( Extracted from Brixworth – a Village Appraisal. Brixworth Village Appraisal Committee ) . Available at:

hypertext transfer protocol: //users.ox.ac.uk/~peter/workhouse/Brixworth/Brixworth.html ( 4/5/5 ) .

Englander, D. 1995. Poor Law Amendment Act. In Gardiner, J. and Wenborn, N. ( eds. ) . 1995. The History Today Companion to British History. London: Collins & A ; Brown, 608.

Englander, D. 1998. Poverty and Poor Law Reform in Britain: from Chadwick to Booth, 1834-1914. London: Longman.

Henriques, U.R.Q. 1979. Before the Welfare State. London: Longman.

Humphreys, R. 1995. Sin, Organized Charity and the Poor Law in Victorian England. London: Macmillan.

MacKinnon, M. 1987. English Poor Law Policy and the Crusade Against Outrelief. The Journal of Economic History 47 ( 3 ) , 603-25.

Murray, P. 1999. Poverty and Welfare 1830-1914. London: Hodder & A ; Stoughton.

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