PRO Class AST 12, Files 1-25, 28-32 and 48-57
This collection of files is of great importance to historians and social scientists alike. It tells the inside story of one of the most significant political battles in the foundation of the British Welfare State--the historic transfer of responsibility of the poor from local to central government. Simultaneously, it reveals the reality of poverty in Britain in the 1930s.
The year 1934 marked the end of an era of social policy begun in the reign of Elizabeth I. Care for the relief of the able-bodied poor became the responsibility of central rather than local government. This shift of authority was a major landmark in the development of Britain's Welfare State.
Covering the period from the Depression to the firm establishment of the Welfare State, the Minutes and Memoranda of the Unemployment Assistance Board explore in depth the reality of poverty during this era.