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Britain 1625-88

Poverty and the Poor Laws

Inflation Prices rose by 800% whilst wages only rose by 300% as population grew. This deficit of 500% meant the poorer became poorer and richer became richer.
Wage labour Agriculture relied on seasonal employment. Rural laborers find employment for only six months of a year. More people than jobs available.
The Elizabethan Poor Laws - 1601 A system which provided basic relief for those unable to work. The system was not reformed till 1834.
Poor rate In 1650 it was £250,000 per year but by the end of the 17th century the rate rose to £700,000 a year reflecting the growth in poverty.
Book of Orders Advice on how to tax the poor rate and what actions to take with the finance. The order encouraged the youth to take up apprenticeships. By 1640, 1,400 officers were responsible for organising poor relief in the parishes.
Vagrant a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging. 22% of vagrant had already covered 100 miles before arriving to Salisbury.
Transportation Vagrants were seen as a source of crime and instability and were often rounded up and punished. Some vagrants were later transported to American colonies.
1662 Settlement law If a man left his own parish to work elsewhere he had to posses a settlement certificate guaranteeing that his home parish would pay off his return if he needed poor relief.
Created by: Haribro