The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Poor Law, New

  • George R. Boyer
Reference work entry


The New Poor Law refers to the system of local public assistance in England and Wales initiated by the passage of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. This act attempted to restrict relief outside of workhouses for the able-bodied, but was evaded for three decades. The Crusade against Outrelief of the 1870s marked a major shift in administration and the increased use of workhouse relief. Numbers on relief fell sharply thereafter, although the elderly continued to rely heavily on the Poor Law. The Liberal welfare reforms of 1906–11 paved the way for the 1948 abolition of the Poor Law.


Charity Organization Society New Poor Law Outdoor relief Poor rate 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • George R. Boyer
    • 1
  1. 1.