Social Mobility

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Griffith Andrew Griffith Conservative, Arundel and South Downs

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to promote social and economic mobility throughout the UK.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is committed to promoting opportunity throughout the UK.

The Social Mobility Commission – an arm’s length body sponsored by the Department for Education – has a statutory responsibility to monitor social mobility in the United Kingdom and to promote social mobility in England. It carries out this responsibility by appraising action on social mobility via their annual monitoring report laid in Parliament, making recommendations to the government and conducting other evidence-based research reports they publish throughout the year. The Social Mobility Commission’s reports are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/social-mobility-commission.

A child’s earliest years are crucial to boosting economic and social mobility, which is why the government has invested in childcare places for the most disadvantaged 2 year olds, who are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare a week to give them a great start in life. Over one million disadvantaged 2 year olds have benefited from 15 hours of free childcare since the programme began in September 2013. Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places for children.

Likewise, a world-class education system that works for everyone is the best way to give everyone the chance to make the most of their talents and give them the foundations to live happy and independent lives. That is why the government is investing over £7 billion more in schools by the 2022-23 financial year, compared to the 2019-20 financial year, plus additional funding to cover pension costs.

To support young people’s employment prospects, the government is investing £500 million in a package of support to ensure young people have the skills and training to go on to high-quality, secure and fulfilling employment. Adult skills are key in supporting the economy and tackling disadvantage. Starting next year, the government is providing £3 billion (£2.5 billion for England) for the National Skills Fund to help people learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

To address economic mobility, this government is committed to levelling up opportunities across the UK, supporting people into employment and those on low pay. In its Plan for Jobs, the government has announced unprecedented support to help unemployed people in Great Britain find a job, and the 2020 Spending Review provides additional funding to build on this commitment. A link to the Plan for Jobs scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

For those on low pay, the government is making progress towards its long-term ambition for the National Living Wage (NLW) to reach two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. In April 2021, workers on the NLW will see a pay increase to £8.91 an hour, a rise of 2.2%.

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