Tuesday’s Social Mobility in Great Britain: fifth state of the nation report by the Social Mobility Commission highlights the extent of inequality and the urgent need for greater action by the UK and Welsh Governments to improve social mobility and secure opportunity for Wales.
The report found that an individual’s life chances remain largely determined by the place of their birth, with a striking geographical divide between South East England and the rest of the UK.
Within Wales substantial differences also exist, both between local authorities and between the most and least disadvantaged individuals within each local authority. The report also showed that whilst cities do provide access to better paid jobs, they’re not a silver bullet for social mobility, as some of the worst performing areas in Wales are urban and many of the best performing areas are rural.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:
“This report is a stark reminder of the shocking state of social mobility in the UK, with the rest of the country being left behind once again by South East England. The report rightly calls for the UK Government to direct a greater proportion of spending to the areas that need it most and nowhere in the UK needs it more than Wales.”
“Kirsty Williams is doing fantastic work within the Welsh Government to improve social mobility, making closing the attainment gap part of Wales’ national mission to improve education and increasing the Pupil Development Grant to make this a reality. However, Kirsty cannot solve social mobility on her own, Wales needs a cross-government and cross-society effort to improve social mobility.”
“The same old ideas for improving social mobility will not work, we need bold new solutions. We need a Beveridge Report for the 21st Century to eliminate the 5 evils Beveridge identified 75 years ago and we need to trial groundbreaking policies like Universal Basic Income and Negative Income Tax. Only through ideas like these will we secure opportunity for Wales.”