Social mobility – and the lack thereof for the many - is the defining issue of our time, creating a divided Britain, which is bad for our economy, society and future.
Whether it’s intergenerational inequality and the lack of opportunity for today’s young people to progress, as the recent election brought to the fore; or the huge disparity in regional inequality and many communities left behind, which we saw expressed in the Brexit vote; or the growing divide between rich and poor, and stubborn wealth inequality – our country’s failings on social mobility are the national challenge.
Those failings start in the earliest years of a child’s life and for too many children, the circumstances of birth can never be overcome.
Actions by successive governments to tackle social mobility have been painfully slow, with a lack of focus and bold joined up thinking costing us dear. While some policies and programmes have helped progress, others have not and the overall picture of social mobility remains largely stuck.
To be truly transformational, social mobility should be at the heart of all government policies, decisions and actions because it’s only through a prolonged, determined and comprehensive government-wide strategy, alongside society and business, that we may actually start changing entrenched inequalities for the many.