Resistance to the new poor law

The movement brought together Tories who opposed centralisation and radicals who opposed the inhumanity of the 'poor law Bastilles'. In Bradford the Poor Law Guardians had to be protected by troops when rioting broke out; the Huddersfield Guardians defied the law for over a year and at TodmordenJohn and Joseph Fielden led a rate-revolt. Other tactics of the Anti-Poor-Law movement included attempting to prevent the election of Guardians electing as Guardians, men who opposed the PLAA intimidating the new Boards so that they did not elect clerks — without whom no business could be conducted physical harassment of Poor Law officials fighting with police and troops who were sent to assist with the implementation of the law Oastler and his colleagues addressed anti-Poor Law meetings and wrote pamphlets and letters to sympathetic newspapers like the Leeds Intelligencer and the Sheffield Iris in which they denounced the Poor Law Amendment Act as being cruel, unChristian and dictatorial.

Resistance to the new poor law

Royal Commission into the Operation of the Poor Laws Alarmed at the cost of poor relief in the southern agricultural districts of England where in many areas it had become a semi-permanent top-up of labourers' wages - the Allowance SystemRoundsman Systemor Speenhamland SystemParliament had set up a Royal Commission into the operation of the Poor Laws.

The Commission's findings, which had probably been predetermined, were that the old system was badly and expensively run. The Commission's recommendations were based on two principles. The first was less eligibility: The other was the "workhouse test": Migration of rural poor to the city to find work was a problem for urban ratepayers under this system, since it raised their poor rates.

The Commission's report recommended sweeping changes: Poor people coming to a workhouse for food, c.

Resistance to the new poor law

There was little practical experience to support it; only four of the parishes reporting had entirely abolished out-relief, and their problem cases could well have simply been displaced to neighbouring parishes.

Their purpose being to securely confine large numbers of the lower classes at low cost, they not unnaturally looked much like prisons.

The new system would be undermined if different unions treated their paupers differently; there should therefore be a central board with powers to specify standards and to enforce those standards; this could not be done directly by Parliament because of the legislative workload that would ensue.

This arrangement was simultaneously justified as required to give absolute uniformity country-wide and as allowing regulations to be tailored to local circumstances without taking up Parliament's time. Mothers of illegitimate children should receive much less support; poor-law authorities should no longer attempt to identify the fathers of illegitimate children and recover the costs of child support from them.

It was argued that penalising fathers of illegitimate children reinforced pressures for the parents of children conceived out Resistance to the new poor law wedlock to marry, and generous payments for illegitimate children indemnified the mother against failure to marry.

This pressure explained the existence of poverty, which he justified theologically as a force for self-improvement and abstention. He saw any assistance to the poor—such as given by the old poor laws—as self-defeating, temporarily removing the pressure of want from the poor while leaving them free to increase their families, thus leading to greater number of people in want and an apparently greater need for relief.

His views were influential and hotly debated without always being understood, and opposition to the old Poor Law which peaked between and was described by both sides as " Malthusian ".

This idea of utilitarianism underpinned the Poor Law Amendment Act. Bentham believed that "the greatest good for the greatest number" could only be achieved when wages found their true levels in a free-market system.

Chadwick believed that the poor rate would reach its "correct" level when the workhouse was seen as a deterrent and fewer people claimed relief. A central authority was needed to ensure a uniform poor law regime for all parishes and to ensure that that regime deterred applications for relief; that is, to ensure a free market for labour required greater state intervention in poor relief.

Bentham's argument that people chose pleasant options and would not do what was unpleasant provided a rationale for making relief unpleasant so that people would not claim it, "stigmatising" relief so that it became "an object of wholesome horror".

Instead, it set up a three-man Poor Law Commissionan "at arms' length" quango to which Parliament delegated the power to make appropriate regulations, without making any provision for effective oversight of the Commission's doings.

Local poor-rates payers still elected their local Board of Poor Law Guardians and still paid for local poor law provisions, but those provisions could be specified to the Board of Guardians by the Poor Law Commission; where they were, the views of the local rate-payers were irrelevant.

The principles upon which the Commission was to base its regulations were not specified. The workhouse test and the idea of "less eligibility" were therefore never mentioned.

The Poor Law Commission was independent of Parliament, but conversely, since none of its members sat in Parliament, [9]: It was recognised that individual parishes would not have the means to erect or maintain workhouses suitable for implementing the policies of "no outdoor relief" and segregation and confinement of paupers; consequently, the Commission was given powers to order the formation of Poor Law Unions confederations of parishes large enough to support a workhouse.

That from and after the passing of this Act the Administration of Relief to the Poor throughout England and Wales, according to the existing Laws, or such Laws as shall be in force at the Time being, shall be subject to the Direction and Control of the said Commissioners; and for executing the Powers given to them by this Act the said Commissioners shall and are hereby authorized and required, from Time to Time as they shall see Occasion, to make and Issue all such Rules, Orders, and Regulations for the Management of the Poor, for the Government of Workhouses and the Education of the Children therein, Provided always, that nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as enabling the said Commissioners or any of them to interfere in any individual Case for the Purpose of ordering Relief.

Therefore, there was no provision for Parliamentary scrutiny of policy changes e.

The anti-Poor Law campaign Thursday, 8 May Resisting the Poor Law Resistance to alterations in the provision of poor relief was not uncommon in the early nineteenth century and grievances about the operation of the poor laws formed a significant feature of disturbances in southern England between and
Send me The National Archives’ newsletter Monday, 13 December Opposing the Poor Law Act Resistance to alterations in the provision of poor relief was not uncommon in the early-nineteenth century and grievances about the operation of the poor laws formed a significant feature of disturbances in southern England between and

Poor Law Unions were to be the necessary administrative unit for the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths introduced in The Act did give paupers some rights. Lunatics could not be held in a workhouse for more than a fortnight; [9]: The Commission's powers allowed it to specify policies for each Poor Law Union, and policy did not have to be uniform.

Implementation of the New Poor Law administrative arrangements was phased in, starting with the Southern counties whose problems the Act had been designed to address.

There was a gratifying reduction in poor-rates, but also horror tales of paupers ill-treated or relief refused.Resistance to the Poor Law.

The New Poor Law was a deeply controversial piece of social legislation. Very little work, however, has explored how debates over the implementation of the system at . Incentives, Information, and Welfare: England's New Poor Law and the Workhouse Test Central to the New Poor Law was the reduction of the authority of local parishes and the elimination of later the Local Government Board also encountered serious resistance from some Poor Law Guardians. The new Poor Law was meant to reduce the cost of looking after the poor and impose a system which would be the same all over the country. Under the new Poor Law, parishes were grouped into unions and each union had to build a workhouse if they did not already have one.

The new Poor Law was disliked intensely in the industrial north. Some towns tried to resist the implementation. Although the Poor Law remained on the statute books until it had largely been superseded by other developments.

May 08,  · Resistance to alterations in the provision of poor relief was not uncommon in the early-nineteenth century and grievances about the operation of the poor laws formed a significant feature of disturbances in southern England between and Dec 18,  · Resistance to alterations in the provision of poor relief was not uncommon in the early-nineteenth century and grievances about the operation of the poor laws formed a significant feature of disturbances in southern England between and May 18,  · Resistance to alterations in the provision of poor relief was not uncommon in the early nineteenth century and grievances about the operation of the poor laws formed a significant feature of disturbances in southern England between and Dec 13,  · Resistance to alterations in the provision of poor relief was not uncommon in the early-nineteenth century and grievances about the operation of the poor laws formed a significant feature of disturbances in southern England between and Extra-Parliamentary opposition to the New Poor Law regime.

While there were protests in towns such as Oldham, Huddersfield, and Bradford (where the Poor Law Guardians had to be protected by troops after riots against the Act), in other areas the New Poor Law administrative framework was set in place with much less difficulty.

Even in Huddersfield the new administrative framework was in place within two .

The New Poor Law