Young people in North East England highlight a social mobility class chasm

The Social Mobility Commission is back with a £2m research budget after disbanding due to government inaction a year ago, finding just 15 per cent of 18-to-24-year olds were positive about their upwards social mobility

Almost half of young people believe that they are still held back by their background when it comes to getting on in life, according to new research from the relaunched Social Mobility Commission.

Just 15 per cent of 18-to-24-year olds were positive about their upwards social mobility while 13 per cent and 12 per cent believed their generation would have the best standard of living and personal finances respectively. The survey also found that three quarters of Brits think that there is a large gap between the social classes. And that feeling is particularly prevalent in the north-east of England, where 83 per cent spoke of a chasm between the lower and upper classes. This compares to 73 per cent in the South East and Midlands.

Today’s Social Mobility Commission relaunch coincided with the release of the Social Mobility Barometer 2018 – a YouGov report that polled over 5,000 people and painted a dim view of social mobility in the UK.

The governmental group has lay dormant for a year after former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn called it quits alongside the remaining board members, citing government inaction.

In that time, Justine Greening, who is co-sponsoring John Bird’s Creditworthiness Assessment Bill through the House of Commons, has launched her own Social Mobility Pledge to fight the corner for disadvantaged youngsters in the jobs market.

A year later, the Social Mobility Commission has been resurrected under the stewardship of Prince’s Trust chief executive Dame Martina Milburn and 12 new board members, as well as a £2 million research budget.


There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

Overall, people think those born between the 1960s and 1970s – the generation dubbed the baby boomers– had the most opportunity to move up in society.

“If we fail to act too many young people will continue to face challenges getting into colleges, universities and employment,” said Dame Milburn. “We all need to do more to tackle these issues, but there needs to be renewed focus from government, educators and employers.

“We at the commission are a group of people with real-life experiences who are prepared to challenge government, business and society as a whole, to create a fair system where people can thrive.”

The 12 commissioners bring a range of expertise from education, business and academia, and are from diverse backgrounds while three of the commissioners are under the age of 23. That includes Saeed Atcha, 22, who is the founder of the magazine Xplode – a Bolton-based volunteer and training charity that aims to upskill youngsters to boost employment.

“I believe there is always a need to have young voices at the table so I’m thrilled to be representing young people and bringing their voice to the fore,” she said. “The poll shows they are pessimistic about their future and they do not have the right opportunities. It’s vital that we take urgent steps to address this.”

Image: Chris Beckett/Flickr