Definition of the Poor Law noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


the Poor Law

; NAmE
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a group of laws used in Britain in the past to control the help that was given to poor people Culture The first Poor Law (1601) stated that the poor were the responsibility of the parish, and that local people should be taxed to provide food for the poor. These taxes became too high when the number of poor people increased in the early 19th century, and in 1834 a new Poor Law stated that the poor should be made to work in workhouses. This system was very unpopular, but it was not officially changed until the 1930 Poor Law introduced a national system of social welfare.