Transference and the Labour government, 1929–31
in Working men’s bodies
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In 1929, the Labour Party came to power, and the overseas training centres were turned into camps for training the long term unemployed. The focus of the new camps was to be on ‘reconditioning’ young unemployed men, through heavy manual labour in remote settings. The Labour Government introduced compulsory recruitment for the long term unemployed, as part of its wider policy for ‘labour transference’. This reflected a longer term socialist debate about national citizens’ service, with the Webbs in particular taking a strongly authoritarian view of the obligations of the unemployed. In practice, compulsory training – workfare in modern terms – was a failure, and it was abandoned when Labour lost power.

Working men’s bodies

Work camps in Britain, 1880–1940

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