The Liberalsintroduced the old pension act in 1908 when faced with the undeniable evidenceof poverty and hardship Britain was encountering at the time. Evidence fromsocial reformers like Charles Booth and the already present successful schemein Germany showcased the government that change was needed to prevent theworkers uprising and turning to socialism. The elderly ultimately had it worseas being unable to work meant that the majority had to rely on their family tofeed and house them. This may have been caused by not earning enough to putmoney aside for their future, low wages or factors that caused their savings tobe diverted.
The elderly’s options in the 1900s where to seek charity at eitherchurches or workhouses, which was considered to be humiliating. As attitudestowards poverty started to change so did parliament’s stand on state pensions.The introduction of the pension, in 1908, gave 5 shilling a week to people over70, whose income was less than £21, or 7 shillings to a married couple. Althoughthe amount was not much, the principle established of the state caring for theelderly was important to further reforms in the future. During the 19thcentury the idea of giving money to the poor was unacceptable so the solutionwas giving the elderly better and separated living areas in the workhouses.
This implies that the old pensions act is a considerable improvement in tacklingthe problems of inequality. The introduction was received well among the publicespecially by the elderly as it was the first time proper relief was given tothem. This is illustrated in a newspaper report by the Daily Express on the pensionsin 1909 which expressed how “old folks hobbled along the streets with theirpensions books” and how a woman had “dropped dead from excitement.” The act waspraised by many of the elderly as it gave them extra money and they didn’t haveto contribute any of their own income to receive it. The act was also a greatsuccess in removing the negative stigma of going to the poor house to receivemoney as the elderly were able to collect their pensions from their postoffice. This act was universal whichensured that the elderly all over Britain didn’t succumb to workhouses.
Thisresulted in the number people who were dependent on charities or poor relief todrop dramatically and by 1914, 1 million people were receiving these pensions.