British Social Policy

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Social policy studies not only the organization and delivery of state welfare services, but also how well-being can be promoted within society generally. Well-being may be achieved through the satisfaction of individuals' socially defined needs. British social policy has the long history and lasts for 350 years.


Starting from the Old Poor Law (established by Elizabethan Act in 1572) which provided the relief to the poor (provision for work, help to immigrations and compulsory poor rate), and up to the current social security benefits (child support, unemployment, income support, and pensions), the social policy has gone though the number of reforms which have changed the delivery of the social and financial assistance.
In the early 18th century the number of immigrants to Britain has much increases and most of them were living behind the line of poverty. From economic perspective, the situation in the country was stable and, as the result, the government was able to address the needs of the poor. In particular, the workhouses and poorhouses were established where poor could work and satisfy their basic needs. However, the situation has started to change in the 19th century when the industrial revolution fostered the development of the towns and the rapid population growth. From microeconomic perspective, the government was no longer able to deliver social benefits to the poor and the poverty rate doubled (Laybourn 1995). The Poor Law did not meet the needs of people because the increased population was beyond the British ability to provide for and, moreover, the Poor Law was undermining the wages of the independent workers.
The health perspective of social policy was first addressed by the Br ...
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