Sunday 17 December 2017

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01 December 2017

The Social Mobility Commission and 'State of the Nation' report

The effect of chronic underinvestment in the region was perhaps emphasised by the publication SMC’s 5th ‘State of the Nation’ report (available here). It paints a grim picture for the region and highlights a striking geographical divide with London and its surrounding areas pulling away from the rest of the country, while many other parts of the country are being left behind economically and hollowed out socially.

The key findings of the State of the Nation report:

  • London accounts for nearly two-thirds of all social mobility hotspots.
  • The East Midlands is the region with the worst outcomes for those children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Half of the local authority areas in the East Midlands are social mobility coldspots (summary here)
  • Newark & Sherwood is ranked 323 out of 324; and 10 areas in the East Midlands are within the bottom 20 ranked places (note - county level figures are not provided, the data is disaggregated to unitary and district level).
  • There is no simple north-south divide; hotspots and coldspots are found in almost every part of the country.
  • There is also no direct correlation between the affluence of an area and its ability to sustain high levels of social mobility.

Of particular interest to this region are the three big challenges that have not featured as priorities for successive Governments:

  • The decline and subsequent adjustment from traditional industries that has left a legacy of low skills and low aspirations.
  • Poor educational performance over decades.
  • Under-investment in infrastructure which has resulted in poor connectivity and economic productivity.

Following on the Autumn Budget announcement, the publication of the Industrial Strategy and the region’s infrastructure summit meeting on the 27 November, followed by the release of the SMC’s report; there is now a credible and compelling body of evidence that confirms the lack of investment in the region, the overall effect of this and therefore the need to identify specific actions to address this.

 

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