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Minutes of the Unemployment Board (1934-1948)

Part of a series of commercial publisher collections on the Origins of the Welfare State in Britain. The collection comprises the minutes of the main Board, as well as the minutes of a number of sub-committees. Detailed case histories showing the poverty of many families are included, public reactions to the new system, and decisions on working practices of the Board. The Unemployment Act of 1934 established the Unemployment Assistance Board, which was to become responsible for paying unemployment assistance to those who did not qualify for unemployment benefit based on contributions. Care for the relief of the able-bodied poor thus became the responsibility of central rather than local government, marking the end of an era of social policy begun in the reign of Elizabeth I. The collection comprises the minutes and memoranda of the main Unemployment Board, a selection from the minutes of its most important sub-committees and reports of its local officers. The documents reveal the poverty of many families, differences in regional living standards and customs, and the hostility the Board’s initial proposals provoked. Also detailed are the subsequent revision of relief-scales, methods of payment decisions and the gradual acceptance of the Board during the War.  The files of the Assessment Sub-Committee illustrate the relationship between wages and unemployment pay, demoralisation and scrounging, and youth unemployment. This collection is of great importance to historians and social scientists alike. It tells the inside story of one of the most significant political battles in the foundation of the British Welfare State: the historic transfer of responsibility of the poor from local to central government.

Date range:  1934-1948

Size:  11 microfilm reels

Language:  English

Keywords: Unemployment, welfare, Britain, social history.

Notes: Contents of reels - Reel 1: Board's memoranda 1934-1935 -- Reel 2 : Board's memoranda 1935-1937 -- Reel 3: Board's memoranda 1937-1938 -- Reel 4: Board's memoranda 1938-1943 -- Reel 5: Board's minutes 1934-1935 -- Reel 6: Board's minutes 1935 -- Reel 7: Board's minutes 1936-1943 -- Reel 8: Board's annual reports 1939-1944 -- Reel 9: Administrative procedure 1936-1946; Training and Welfare Sub-Committee 1936-1938; Regional Officers Conferences 1935-1941; Regional Officers Conferences 1941-1946 -- Reel 10: Board's memoranda 1944-1948 ; Board's minutes 1944-1948; Regional Officers Conference 1946. -- Reel 11: Regional Officers Conference 1946-1948. See also the Mass Observation Archive, 1937-1950, on microfilm.