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Blair's warm words will not address declining social mobility

September 6, 2006 8:30 AM
Classroom with School Children

Despite warm words, under Blair's government social mobility for children of poorer families has declined

Andrew Simpson has reacted to Tony Blair's speech yesterday on helping socially excluded children, saying: "Tony Blair pays great lip service but the fact is that under his government inequality has widened at an unprecedented rate.

"The gap in access to higher education has widened such that the proportion of people from the poorest fifth of families obtaining a degree has increased from 6% to 9%, while the graduation rates for the richest fifth have risen from 20% to 47%" (1).

A separate study undertaken by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that the "percentage of wealth held by the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population has increased from 47 per cent to 54 per cent over the last ten years" from 1990 to 2000 (2).

Reacting to Tony Blair's speech, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Menzies Campbell MP said:

"It is too little, too late.

"It is deeply worrying that the chances of a poor child becoming a poor adult are still growing. Who would have predicted this after nine years of a Labour Government?".

(1) Statistics from London School of Economics: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2005/LSE_SuttonTrust_report.htm

(2) Institute for Public Policy Research: http://www.ippr.org.uk/pressreleases/?id=810