Tag Archives: social mobility

Nick Clegg welcomes Milburn social mobility and child poverty report

Oliver TwistPresenting a report laid before parliament today, the coalition’s social mobility tsar Alan Milburn said “child poverty is a problem for working families rather than the workless or the work-shy.”

Entrenched poverty remains a priority for action but transient poverty, growing insecurity and stalling mobility are far more widespread than politicians, employers and educators have so far recognised.

The nature of poverty has changed. Today child poverty is overwhelmingly a problem facing working families, not the workless or the work-shy. Two-thirds of Britain’s poor children are now in households where an adult works. The problem is that those working parents simply do not earn enough to escape poverty.

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: ‘Opening Doors’ so that every young person deserves a great start in life

Nick Clegg has made social mobility — the aim that everyone should be able to make of their lives what they want regardless of where they come from — his driving mission as Deputy Prime Minister. It’s a big aim and one he knows will be difficult to achieve. His latest attempt to progress it is the Opening Doors Campaign, asking all businesses to sign up to ensure they ‘recruit fairly and openly, looking at people’s talent not their background’. In this week’s letter he explains why he thinks this is so important…

libdem letter from nick clegg

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Nick Clegg launches Opening Doors Awards

Nick CleggNick Clegg has long championed improving life chances for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As he said on this morning’s Call Clegg:

My dad helped me. I was very lucky. But is shouldn’t be all about luck. That’s what we need to address.

He said that bright kids from poorer backgrounds were being overtaken at school by less bright children from more affluent backgrounds by the time they were 7 and the problem continues as they decide on their careers. If you’re from a poorer background, you don’t have the connections to land you the best opportunties. Remedying that problem is what’s behind the Opening Doors campaign which 150 companies have signed up to. Yesterday Nick launched the Opening Doors awards, which aim to find the best examples of reaching those bright young people and giving them the help they need. It’s a very strong example of the least heard but most important part  of the Trinity of Liberal Democrat Mantras – enabling everyone to get on in life.

There are a number of categories in the awards, from best outreach, to most inspirational young person to a Deputy Prime Minister’s excellence award which “will be given to the organisation who has excelled in setting the standard and communicating the case for social mobility.”

This is Nick’s video launching the awards which is also available here on You Tube:

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“Is the coalition government doing enough to encourage social mobility?”

social-mobilityThat was the question I was asked to answer for a new magazine, The New Idealist (available online here). Here’s what I said…

Social mobility: it’s a phrase much-beloved by politicians from all three parties. Who, after all, can possibly disagree with the fine sentiments of Nick Clegg in his social mobility strategy paper, Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers (April 2011)?

In Britain today, life chances are narrowed for too many by the circumstances of their birth: the home they’re born into, the neighbourhood they grow up in or the jobs their

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Baroness Tyler writes… Developing character and resilience in young people

The Social Mobility All Party Parliamentary Group have been working since 2011 to get an in-depth understanding of what it is that enables some people to get ahead in life whilst others fall behind and aren’t able make the most of their abilities and potential.

What became glaring to us through our report on “The Seven Key Truths of Social Mobility” published last year was the importance of so-called “soft skills”, an area all too often neglected in the social mobility debate. To shine a spotlight on this neglected area we held a Character and Resilience Summit yesterday in Admiralty House …

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The Independent View: Fair access to the professions – where the legal profession leads, others must follow

Old Bailey: the scales of justiceShortly after becoming Deputy Prime Minister in 2010, Nick Clegg made an important speech in which he said that the Government’s agenda would be to create “a more prosperous economy and a fairer… more socially mobile society”. The legal profession is making a vital contribution to this mission.

A more socially mobile society

The legal services sector is at the forefront of efforts to increase social mobility. The Law Society is adamant that the solicitors’ profession must have access to the best talent, irrespective of background. Indeed, that is why we and our members have been working on the issue for so long.

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Nick Clegg gives the William Beveridge lecture

Nick Clegg gives the William Beveridge lecture

Speaking at the at Social Liberal Forum Conference 2012 on Saturday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave the William Beveridge memorial lecture. Here are my tweets of the event, interspersed with some links to older blog posts that expanded on some of the issues which came up.

Storified by Mark Pack · Sat, Jul 14 2012 10:25:17

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Is education the key to social mobility?

We’ve all read the statistics: in the United Kingdom, 7% of the population who were educated in independent schools make up 95% of our politicians, judges, journalists and business bosses. And let’s not forget our actors and sports stars. You’re twenty times more likely to play cricket for England if your parents mortgaged themselves to send you to a private school.

But do we all want to be Yuppies? Not everyone wants to be a politician, judge or journalist, many are thankfully still in possession of their full set of faculties. Moreover, our average western society requires roughly 20%

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The Liberal Democrats need a core votes strategy

Nick Clegg’s summer tour has one major aim: to reassure, to charm and to motivate Liberal Democrat members and supporters. The risk is that it is done on the basis that all he needs do is meet people, face their questions head on and question by question provide good answers.

The ability to win over people one question at a time has served Nick Clegg well in his ascent up the political ladder, as the key election contests for him have not been winning a council seat from nowhere or a close-fought marginal seat contest at a general election. Rather for …

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LDVideo: Clegg – Britain must shake off ‘snobbish’ class attitudes

Nick Clegg today spoke of his aim to boost social mobility at a conference organised by the Sutton Trust, arguing Britain must create an open society “where what matters most is the person you become, not the person you were born.”

“These are challenging times but that doesn’t mean we can give up on making society fairer and helping people get on in life. In the past year, since we published the Government’s first social mobility strategy, we’ve made great progress – school children are benefiting from a cash injection through the Pupil Premium, young people are getting into jobs and training through the Youth Contract, and we’re expanding the number of families who get free childcare.

“We must create a more dynamic society. One where what matters most is the person you become, not the person you were born. Government cannot do this alone, but we must take the lead. So we’re exposing the stark gaps in life chances by publishing a wide range of tracking data to show how well society is doing here and now. No government has done this. The data shows we’ve got a long way to go, but that’s why it’s there – to hold a flame to our feet until the gaps close. It’s not an overnight fix, but it is a long term ambition that is achievable.”

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The Independent View: social mobility begins at birth

As Nick Clegg bangs the social mobility drum today at the Sutton Trust announcing social trackers to measure fairness in society, we welcome his re-affirmation that social mobility matters. At Family Action our work with disadvantaged and vulnerable families, means that every day our workers witness the fundamental unfairness of some children’s circumstances.

The pupil premium and the extension of Sure Start to two–year olds are important policy wins. But Family Action is concerned that the Coalition is missing the boat by not focusing enough on babyhood and the first steps in early intervention. A wealth of neuroscientific and …

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‘Nick Clegg sets out plans to break private schools’ grip on establishment’

Nick Clegg has long championed the pupil premium, new money allocated to schools to help boost the educational chances of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Today’s Guardian reports how he plans in a major speech on Monday to emphasise its importance in improving social mobility in the UK:

Nick Clegg will next week set out long-term plans to break the grip of private schools on the British establishment when he publishes proposals for a surge in social mobility based on the “pupil premium”. … Clegg, launching a two-week drive on social mobility, which he sees as one of the

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Baroness Tyler writes… To improve social mobility, we need to shine a spotlight on early years

One of the fascinating things I have discovered since joining the Lib Dem group in the Lords last year is the profusion of all party groups in Parliament on virtually every subject under the sun. There are quite simply hundreds of them including some pretty bizarre ones ! About a year ago I decided to join the cross party group on social mobility – a key interest of mine since my time in central government as the Head of the Social Exclusion Unit. On Tuesday we launched our first report at a packed event in hosted by the Policy …

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Nick Clegg: Nanny state? No. State nannies? Yes

Interviewed in today’s Independent on Sunday, Nick Clegg has called for 65,000 nursery workers to be recruited as part of his social mobility drive:

“Every parent wants their child to do better than they did, and every parent wants their child to fulfil their potential,” he said.

State intervention to teach children as young as two will form the centrepiece of his “obsession” which will see childcare made the coalition’s highest priority social policy. Next month he will make a major announcement on his “passion” for shared parental leave and for extending the rights of flexible working.

And he pledged to take

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Nick Clegg’s social mobility drive wins backing from banks and law firms

The Evening Standard reports:

Banks and law firms in London today backed Nick Clegg’s campaign to open up recruitment to all social backgrounds.

The Deputy Prime Minister announced that Barclays, HSBC, Credit Suisse, RBS and a string of other City institutions have signed up to his “business compact” on internships, work experience and recruitment…

“This is an important step towards a society where it’s what you know, not who you know, that counts,” Mr Clegg said.

“Working with the

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The Independent View: Now is not the time to debate niceties about constitutional reform

In an attempt to repair his Party’s battered poll ratings and diminished credibility following the veto and its aftermath, Nick Clegg has launched the concept of the ‘Open Society’ into the public domain. It mixes important ideas with a sense of a motherhood and apple pie shopping list.

It’s hard to see how the Open Society concept, with its nods to Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin, will resonate outside of Westminster at a time of increasing economic concern. When people’s major concerns are the cost of energy bills, the cost of living and worries about unemployment and job security, it …

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Farewell alarm clocks and hello John Major: Nick Clegg’s new strategy

In his speech yesterday Nick Clegg said, “We want a truly open society, in which every man and woman will be able to go as far as their talent, ambition and effort take them”.

Oh wait, hang on.

Sorry, wrong speech.

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Jeremy Browne: absolutely right

From an interview the Liberal Democrat Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne gave the Evening Standard this week:

I think there is a danger that we are defined by a relatively small set of issues that are relevant and significant but do not give a rounded picture of what the Liberal Democrats are in government in order to achieve.

As he rightly says, there’s a danger in the events of 2011 that the party ends up leaving just that impression:

It would be a mistake for the Lib-Dems to come to be known in the public minds as the party that in 2011

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The Independent View: There are now two main government narratives about child poverty

It’s been said that Margaret Thatcher’s governments did two things for poverty. First they increased it. Then they pretended it did not exist. As Alan Milburn prepares to makes his first speech as the Independent Reviewer on Social Mobility and Child Poverty on Tuesday, his task will be to help the Coalition avoid a similar, devastating, legacy.

The last government’s record was far from perfect, but Milburn should advise the Coalition to recognise the very real progress made and learn from the successes just as much as from the failings.

Some Ministers, including Lib Dems, have bizarrely trashed the last government’s

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The Independent View: Educational disadvantage is one of the most unjust and pervasive problems

The link between family income and educational attainment is greater in the UK than in almost any other developed country. We must all be concerned with a situation where 96% of young people educated in independent schools progress to university, but only 16% of pupils eligible for free school meals make the same progression. This statistic should be hugely troubling to anyone who believes in a society of equal opportunities.

The evidence shows that even when children start school at age five on a reasonably even footing, those from disadvantaged backgrounds begin to diverge dramatically from their peers in terms of attainment.

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The Independent View: Slashing early years spending contradicts the desire to improve social mobility

In its Social Mobility strategy launched last April, the government made clear the dual priorities shaping its agenda:

“Tackling the financial deficit is the Coalition’s most immediate task. But tackling the opportunity deficit – creating an open, socially mobile society – is our guiding purpose.”

These are strong words indeed, marking an unequivocal commitment to improving the life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. At a very minimum, they indicate a clear intention to manage the necessary public spending cuts in a way that recognises this laudable goal.

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Individual electoral registration, credit and social mobility

One aspect of electoral registration, and the potential problems with making registration voluntary, is the knock-on effect on credit and social mobility. That was the aspect which Liberal Democrat peer (Lord) Chris Rennard took up during a debate in the Lords this week:

Lord Rennard: My Lords, does the Minister accept that it really is necessary to carry out a thorough, door-to-door, face-to-face canvass in order to ensure both the accuracy and the completeness of the electoral register? Does he accept that failure to do so not only threatens the integrity of the democratic process but could also cause problems for

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Housing: six things that could be done

As Tim Leunig pointed out last week, housing plays an important role in most people’s concept of social mobility, a point highlighted in Stephen Gilbert’s piece over the summer recounting his own personal circumstances:

Last year I was probably the only MP to be elected while still living with my parents. Of course, I’d moved out of home and, like many others, had to move back again. It’s a symptom of the fact that housing policy in the UK is in crisis. We have millions of people languishing on social housing waiting lists, first-time-buyers priced out of the market

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The Independent View: Coalition’s social mobility strategy failing

The government’s plan to improve social mobility has been dealt a series of blows over the past week. New education data show that trends towards a more ‘socially mobile’ Britain are pointing in the wrong direction.

Nick Clegg launched the government’s social mobility strategy last April, promising to ‘open the doors of opportunity’ to children from disadvantaged homes as they move into adulthood. Children from poor homes are half as likely to achieve five good GCSEs as their better off peers, and they account for less than one in a hundred Oxbridge students. Clegg rightly pointed out that …

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Opinion: How we’ve been going wrong for the last 20 years

Social mobility means more than whether people are in the same income group as their parents. It also means that the lives of people “below” look more like those “above” them as time goes on.

Most of the twentieth century saw a clear demarcation between blue and white collar workers. Blue collar workers were paid less, and their lives were much less secure. They were more likely to be on short-term contracts – labourers were often hired by the day. Their work involved a greater risk of injury, and thus loss of work. They were less likely to have unemployment insurance and a company pension. The employment conditions for white collar workers were much more reliable – and that, as much as the difference in income, meant that white collar workers were able to buy a house, giving them a security not enjoyed by blue collar workers.

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Opinion: Education matters in tackling social mobility

Social mobility is core to the Coalition and Nick Clegg personally. It means that your birth plays little or no role in determining your life outcomes. It is the opposite of feudalism. Economic mobility is an important part of social mobility. Where you end up economically is determined by your ability and hard work, for sure, but also by whether you get a good education, good advice, and – for some – by whether you inherit.

Government should concentrate on what it can do, in this case education. Kids from poor backgrounds generally do much worse at school – and so they end up poor later on. Government can improve school results for such kids relative to others: Labour did it – a bit. There is big variation in this across the country, so every local authority except one should be ringing up those who are doing better and learning from them.

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Do you agree with Will Self about poverty, class and racism?

Over on the BBC website Will Self writes:

Racism is rarely a sole cause of social injustice, but alongside other factors it can limit people’s social mobility, says Will Self

All too often pundits and policymakers seek a single cause for social stratification when they should accept that in a nation where inequality in real monetary terms is increasing – and has been doing so for quite some time despite the so-called boom years – the reasons for being at the bottom of the heap are manifold.

It’s not a case of class or family or education or money or race, it’s

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Nick Clegg’s speech to LibDem Conference

During Liberal Democrat conference someone watching it from home texted me: “I now know what the Lib Dems are against – bankers, top rate taxpayers, tax cheats generally, overpaid directors and energy companies But, with the single exception of gay marriage, I’ve got no idea what the Lib Dems are for.”

Some will – rightly – quibble over the ‘against’ list in that but the essential point is a fair one. Liberal Democrat conference has been a lot about what won’t happen or isn’t the case: the coalition isn’t going to end early, the Liberal Democrats are not the same as …

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Opinion: Conference perspective – media, message and motivation

Looking at the media coverage of the last 24 hours at Conference, it’s all been about tax, boardroom pay and jobs – tackling Labour’s economic legacy. 

But yesterday in the Main Hall, and today in many of the fringes, delegates have also been debating another theme – social mobility, or as Sarah Teather, our Education Minister, powerfully put it – the challenge of breaking the link between the circumstances of a child’s birth and his or her fate. The fact that in this country the richest 16 year-olds are three times as likely

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What the future holds for Liberal Democrat tax policies

More economically competent than Labour, fairer than the Conservatives – that’s what many at the top of the party hope the message will be come the next general election. If the economy is not doing well at the time of the next election . However, if it is then the party will need the right combination of economic policies to support that proposition.

That is why people such as Danny Alexander are starting to sketch out possible tax policies for the next general election which will involve giving tax cuts to the least well off, paid for by taxing the richest more.

That combination …

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