Elizabethan Poor Law

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The Act for the Relief of the Poor, primarily known as the Elizabethan Poor Law, was passed in 1601. It was required in order to establish a law system for the poor in England and Wales. In the earlier years, several laws were passed to deal with the increasing poverty. There was an official record maintained for those who fell into the category for ‘poor’ (Bloy, 2002). This category was further divided into different categories of poor, which included: those who would work but could not, those who could work but would not, and lastly, those who were too old, ill or young to work. A compulsory local poor law tax was imposed on each wage earner making them responsible for the welfare of the poor.
Finally in 1601, all the previous laws were assembled into one and a few provisions were made. A compulsory poor rate was to be levied on every parish, an 'Overseers' of relief was to be created, the poor were to be offered work, and a poor relief rate was collected from property owners. There were two supervisors of the Poor elected every Easter. They worked out the amount of money required and set the poor rate accordingly, distributed food or money to the poor, collected the poor rate from the property owners and supervised the poor-house. The Act was passed to provide relief to the …show more content…

It was called the Poor Law Amendment Act. It was passed to cut down finances as limited funds were available. This New Act distinguished between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor (Raphael, 2011) . The undeserving poor were those who were capable of working but were unwilling to work. They were given ‘indoor’ relief by being forced to work in workplaces and were given basic necessities in exchange of their service. The deserving poor included the orphans, the sick and the disabled. They were unable to work and were given ‘outdoor’ relief. It included giving them money and other necessities in exchange of no

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