Today, The Social Mobility Commission (an advisory public body) has published a social mobility report, which outlines that 48 per cent of people think that our parents and our backgrounds determine what we manage to achieve in society. Only 32 percent of us think that society gives everyone a fair shot.
In fact, over half of young people think that they are held back by the cards they were dealt at birth.
The findings of the report (which can be found here) elude to the ever-deepening geographical divide that cleaves our country in two. London, characteristically, is seen as the place of prosperity and opportunity, and the North-East is considered the place where dreams go to die. Wales and Northern Ireland had also been earmarked as places to move away from in search of success, no doubt on the DUP’s radar as they enter their informal coalition with Government.
All doom and gloom?
There are glimmers of hope that shine out from the report. Notably, two thirds of participants believed that they had received a better education than their parents. This suggests that something is moving in the right direction. But in face of the problems outlined earlier this is not enough.
What needs to happen?
A strong, performing education sector is what can drag our country out of this socially immobile slump. We need to give people, especially in the north, Northern Ireland and Wales, the tools to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and with them the regions they come from. Maybe if people were all able to receive a more equal, higher level of average education then the figures for youth social pessimism might fall. This is the key to regenerating our northern strongholds – give people what they need for born-and-bred enterprise.
As well as a strong educational reform to improve the levelness of the playing field, it is important that Government starts properly addressing the problem of centralisation in London. There is far more to offer in this country than the capital, and we need to be making better use of it. That means funding infrastructure, and getting work to the workers rather than the workers to the work.
If the Government fail to act on these problems the result is likely that southern migration will continue, disparity will worsen and inequality will begin to more seriously affect social cohesion, national output and government welfare liabilities.
Have your say on the issue in the comments below; I’d love to hear what you think!