Social Mobility and Justice

Back on the steps of Downing Street a few short years ago the former Prime Minister made her now infamous pledge to tackle the burning injustices in our country.

She, much like the Government she claimed to lead, has lost its way since then, and those injustices are burning brighter than ever.

That was the conclusion of the Government’s own Social Mobility Commission, which in 2017 resigned en masse, in despair that they could ever deliver on that promise.

It took Ministers nearly a full year to fill those vacancies but we now have the conclusions of their own hand-picked replacements in their first ‘state of the nation’ report.

And what a state they found the government has left this nation in.

They spoke of social mobility stagnant, class privilege entrenched, and progress ground to a halt.

That will not be news to any of my constituents reading this in Barnsley East, who are too often denied opportunity simply by virtue of the postcode they were born in.

As the Commission noted, the figures are stark.

But the scale of inequality is really driven home by the comparison between Barnsley and elsewhere.

How is it right, for example, that just because someone has lived their life in Worsbrough rather than Windsor they will on average die a decade earlier?

Or just because a child is born in Cudworth rather than Chelsea they are five times less likely to go on to university?

And just because someone grows up in Barnsley rather than Buckinghamshire, should not mean they have a one-in-four chance of growing up in poverty.

Too many people in Barnsley grow up feeling like their future has already been decided.

That must change - inequality can no longer be entrenched from birth.

When promises about social mobility and justice are made, then those promises must be met for people in Barnsley as much as elsewhere.