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Disability and the Welfare State in BritainChanges in Perception and Policy 1948-79$
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Jameel Hampton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447316428

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447316428.001.0001

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The old regime: provision for disabled people before the welfare state

The old regime: provision for disabled people before the welfare state

(p.21) Two The old regime: provision for disabled people before the welfare state
Disability and the Welfare State in Britain

Jameel Hampton

Policy Press

This chapter introduces the traditional difficulties with the welfare of disabled people through an investigation of three distinct periods in the development of statutory welfare: from the Poor Law Act 1601 to the early nineteenth century; welfare under the Poor Law Act 1834; and the specialisation of welfare for disabled people from the latter nineteenth century through the 1930s. It analyses changes and continuities in issues historically central to the welfare of disabled people: economic rationality via employment and productivity; moral judgments and the constant evaluation of deserving need; means testing; the mixed economy of welfare; territorial variance; little distinction between the cause or type of physical disablement for services; humane standard of care for those deemed deserving; sliding scale and often-parsimonious evaluation of levels of need for dispensing cash benefits. Workhouses, charitable and mutual aid societies, and asylums and hospitals are examined as sites of welfare for disabled people.

Keywords:   Poor Law Act 1601, Poor Law Act 1834, moral judgments, means testing, territorial variance, cash benefits, workhouses

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