A Life Without Work - Episode 2
A hundred years on from a ground-breaking investigation into unemployment, Richard Bilton compares the lives of the jobless in 1910 with their modern-day counterparts. A century ago single mums lived on the brink of starvation - now our costly benefits system means that children do not go hungry. But has the welfare state created new problems? And as the government embarks on the biggest shake-up of benefits for a generation, what lessons can we learn from research into unemployment carried out a hundred years ago?
In 1910, philanthropist and chocolate tycoon Seebohm Rowntree wrote a radical book about unemployment, exposing for the first time the terrible conditions faced by Britain's jobless. In the second of two programmes looking at a century of unemployment, Richard Bilton uncovers startling parallels between then and now - including a man living in a tent and reliant on casual labour - as well as the incredible advances that 100 years of reform have brought us. But he discovers that for some, the solutions to ending a life without work remain as out of reach as they did a century ago.