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date: 19 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter examines development and change in the welfare role of the British state and the main influences upon it in the context of changing social, economic, and political conditions. It explores the Poor Law and its reform in the early nineteenth century and challenges to it later in the century; the growing role of the state in such fields as education, public health, and labour conditions through the nineteenth century; its more rapid growth through the twentieth century; and finally the challenges to state welfare from the 1980s. Throughout, the shifting but always significant relationship between the state and the voluntary sector in provision for welfare is described and discussed.

Keywords: politics, political history, Britain, Poor Laws, welfare state, education, public health

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