YP Comment: PM's social mobility challenge

TODAY'S report on elitism by the Social Mobility Commission provides added impetus '“ and justification '“ to Theresa May's conscientious decision to lead a Government for all 'and not just the privileged few'.

Prime Minister Theresa May

Even without the complication of Brexit, Mrs May faces an uphill struggle. Even though John Major promised “a classless society”, there remains a massive wage gap between the salary commanded by people from working class backgrounds and those individuals who had a more affluent upbringing.

Of course there are countless examples of inspiring individuals who have overcome hardship to reach the very top of their vocation – it’s about individuals making the most of the opportunities afforded to them.

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Yet, while former New Labour minister Alan Milburn has become a champion for social mobility since leaving Westminster’s front line, today’s study is too important to be left to party politics. It needs to make constructive suggestions and two areas stand out.

First, all youngsters – irrespective of their social status – deserve a world-class education. Teachers matter, a lesson that the more combative Education Secretaries did not learn. Indeed, Tory veteran Ken Clarke’s memoir, Kind of Blue, name-checks the teachers who inspired him and shaped his career.

Second, Britain is too London-centric. If there was greater recognition of the economic importance of regions as drivers of growth, and decision-makers were not so concentrated in 
the capital, Mr Milburn may have less reason to complain that the UK is “deeply elitist”.