"That is the proud end result of decades of work by successive governments to take away consequences of bad choices."
Many of those "choices" were unavoidable.
The same groups in society that were in favour of "the workhouse" solution were also the ones who used obscenity laws to ban sex education and contraceptive advice for ordinary folk.
There were bright children from poor families who could pass their School Certificate a year early at 13. That merely enabled their parents to send them to the full-time menial labour pool - rather than achieving their educational potential.