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Address by Mr. Sidney Webb

Webb, Sidney (1909) Address by Mr. Sidney Webb. The Economic Journal, 19 (74). pp. 313-315. ISSN 0013-0133; 1468-0297 (Online)

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Abstract

"The quarterly meeting of the Royal Economic Society last May was signalised by the address which Mr. Sidney Webb gave on the Reports of the Poor Law Commission. The Commission, he said, had not clearly told the public that the expenditure from rates and taxes in the United Kingdom on the maintenance, education, and medical attendance of the poorer classes had risen from about seven millions in 1834 to about seventy millions in 1909, whilst the population had not quite doubled. Of this expenditure only some twenty millions was now administered by the Poor Law authorities, the rest falling to the series of new authorities established since 1834, with the result of endless overlapping and duplication of services. Of this Mr. Webb gave striking examples - duplicated hospitals and medical service, rival bodies relieving the aged, care of children now provided under the Poor Law, now by some other authority, in apparently haphazard fashion. Considering the remedies for this chaos, Mr. Webb described the Majority of the Commission as so absorbed with what was called the "moral" aspect of pauperism that they practically ignored the costly administrative overlapping and duplication, which led to so much inefficiency. The setting up of a new Poor Law authority, with "curative and restorative " functions, and throwing over the "principles of 1834," as the Majority proposed, could hardly fail to mean a continuance, and even an aggravation, of the extravagant overlap with the existing Health, Education, and Pension authorities. It was an advantage of the proposals of the Minority Report that they set up no new Poor Law authority at all, and, so far as concerned the nine-tenths of the paupers who were non-ablebodied, merely split up the present heterogeneous duties of the Boards of Guardians among the committees of the County and County Borough Council already administering analo-gous services. ..." - introductory sentences.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2015 17:36
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 17:36
URI: http://webbs.library.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/825

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