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Responding to adversity : government-charity relations and the relief of unemployment in interwar Britain

Harris, Bernard (1995) Responding to adversity : government-charity relations and the relief of unemployment in interwar Britain. Contemporary Record, 9 (3). pp. 529-561.

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Abstract

This article examines the roles played by government and charity in the relief of the distress caused by unemployment in inter‐war Britain. Section I looks at the scale and nature of inter‐war unemployment and summarises the development of the statutory welfare services. Section II examines the government's attitude to the role of private charity, section III considers the voluntary sector's own response to the problems this posed. Section IV discusses the attitude adopted by the Labour Party and the trade union movement to the growing convergence of the public and voluntary welfare sectors, and section V presents a more detailed look at the role played by the voluntary sector in the South Wales coalfield. Section VI examines the impact of charity on unemployment during the inter‐war period, and section VII considers the implications of the article for the development of post‐war welfare provision.