Govt ignores one in three recommendations to improve social mobility

The government has performed particularly poorly when it comes to improving access to employment and fair wages.

12 Jun 2020| News

The government has taken little or no action on nearly one-third of recommendations it has been given by the Social Mobility Commission since 2013, a new report has found.

In a review of the government’s response to poor social mobility in the UK, the Commission asked Whitehall departments for a progress update on some of the advice it has put forth over the last seven years.

“Strong progress” had been made on only one in four recommendations, nearly half of the advice the government has received had triggered “some” response from politicians, and almost a third had resulted in little no action.

As a result, the UK is continuing to lag dangerously behind its European peers, ranking 21st on a global social mobility index, scoring particularly poorly on labour market policies to help the unemployed and on fair wages.

Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, the Social Mobility Commission’s major concerns were around childhood poverty, a “crisis” in the early years’ workforce, and a trend among young people to get trapped in low-paid work.

As the country faces an economic depression, social mobility is more important than ever, the Commission said, warning that the poor and young will be the hardest hit by the coming crisis.

In a foreword to the report, Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Dame Martins Milburn, said that “action will need to be drive from the heart of government” to turn the tide on societal inequalities, warning that “at present, there is no meaningful coordination between departments on the social mobility agenda”.

“Promoting equal opportunity, from birth to work, should be an explicit aim of every policy document, budget paper and Parliamentary bill – and departments should be held to account to ensure they deliver,” she said.