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Levelling Up: Social Mobility

Volume 718: debated on Thursday 14 July 2022

7. Whether he has had discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the effectiveness of the Government’s levelling up agenda in increasing social mobility. (901048)

The Government’s central mission is to level up the UK by spreading opportunity more equally across the whole country. Representatives of the Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office and the Social Mobility Commission are having regular discussions with levelling up leads and sharing key data on socioeconomic geographic equality, and that includes information on the commission’s new social mobility index.

But the Government’s own social mobility mission drew the conclusion that there was no social mobility in Britain, and in the meantime, levelling up is being used as a way of dishing out funds to Tory marginals. The truth is that in politics, the law, sport, the arts and business, working-class people face systemic barriers to personal progress. Has the Minister noticed that the wealth of the few is rooted in the poverty of the many? Does he agree, on behalf of the Government, that we need a root- and-branch transformation of the way our country works so that every single individual can achieve their full potential?

That was a long question and I am afraid I only agree with the last sentence: we do want opportunity to be spread to every single individual. I find the hon. Gentleman a little churlish, given that in his part of the world £20 million from the levelling-up funding is supporting the Tileyard North development in Wakefield, we have put £24.9 million into the Wakefield town deal and the Mayor of West Yorkshire will get £1.4 billion for transport improvements in the coming cycle. These are all areas of Government expenditure that will improve the area in which he lives. If he wants to see social mobility writ large, I suggest he looks at the current candidates for the Tory leadership.