The Duty to Work
This chapter considers the evolution of the duty to work from the time of the poor law to the present day. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 looks at the structure of the poor law at the dawn of the industrial revolution and examines the stresses which led to the decline of the twin institutions of annual service and the poor law settlement. Section 3 considers the legal and policy debates surrounding the adoption of the Speenhamland system of in-work benefits and its replacement by the principle of less eligibility in the poor law Amendment Act of 1834. Section 4 focuses on the juridical forms associated with the new poor law, in particular the 19th-century poor law orders which governed the administration of relief. Section 5 examines the transition from the poor law to social security during the 20th century and examines the more recent erosion of social insurance and the revival of wage supplementation. Section 6 concludes.
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