It is why Alan Milburn, the former Labour Minister, and his entire top team quit the Social Mobility Commission en masse in December 2017. In his withering letter of resignation, he told Mrs May: “I do not doubt your personal belief in social justice, but I see little evidence of that being translated into meaningful action.”
And it is the same with the Commission’s latest State of the Nation report in which his namesake Dame Martina Milburn, the current chair, warns that inequality will remain entrenched in Britain “from birth to work” without urgent Government action. What more evidence do Ministers need before they embrace this policy agenda and the opportunities that exist?
Of course, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the progress being made in Yorkshire’s schools, colleges and universities. It has been significant. And the Northern Powerhouse policy agenda is continue to pay dividends in spite of the Government’s reluctance.
Yet it will not fulfil its true potential if more aspirational young people feel they have to move to London in order to succeed. As Dame Martina observed; “I think you’re three times more likely to move to London if you’re from a professional background than if you’re from a working class background.”
Mrs May would be advised to heed these words, and calls for a cross-party focus on this agenda, while she still has a chance to do so. If not, future generations will have even further reason to rue this PM’s inertia and ineffectiveness.