We know that the average hourly wages are more than 30% higher in London than in Northern Ireland and regions such as the east midlands and the north-east. That is why we are working to level up Britain.
We often see evidence that white working-class children have some of the worst educational outcomes—for example, in GCSE results and the numbers going on to higher education. Does my right hon. Friend agree that working-class children in communities such as Bishop Auckland who face poor outcomes deserve the full backing of the Government Equalities Office?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The attainment score at GCSE for white British children who receive free school meals is lower than the equivalent for black and Asian children who receive free school meals. That is why I have asked the Equality Hub to expand beyond protected characteristics and strengthen its focus on geography and social background to identify barriers to opportunity and success.