Department for Work and Pensions
State of the Nation 2014 Report published
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has published its second annual State of the Nation 2014 Report.
The second annual State of the Nation Report which is published and laid before Parliament today from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (SMCP), shows that Britain is on the brink of becoming a permanently divided nation.
The Report says that while a strong economic recovery and a record number of people in work are welcome, the social recovery needed to get Britain back on track to abolish child poverty has not happened. Instead it predicts 2020 is set to mark the end of the first decade since records began without a fall in absolute poverty.
The Report warns that “2020 could mark a watershed between an era in which for decades there have been rising living standards shared by all and a future era where rising living standards by-pass the poorest in society.”
It warns that the link between effort and reward on which social mobility relies has been broken by changes in the housing market - with home ownership rates halving among young people in 20 years - and the labour market - with 5 million workers trapped in low pay.
When combined with cuts in welfare and public spending, these changes put Britain on track to become a permanently divided nation unless radical new approaches are taken by the next government to meet this 2020 challenge. It finds no political party is being honest about the impact of planned spending cuts or has sufficiently ambitious plans to tackle entrenched levels of low pay.
It comes to the reluctant conclusion that there is no way the government can meet the statutory target to eradicate child poverty by 2020. It calls on the next government to supplement the existing targets with new measures to give a more rounded picture of poverty and to publish a new timescale for achieving them.
The report advises the government to commit to the following objectives:
For macro-economic policy, to recouple economic growth with earnings growth.
Closing the chasm between low income households and the rest can no longer rely on tax credits to do all the heavy lifting – employers will have to raise wages and workers will have to increase their hours. The key recommendation is that the UK should commit to becoming a Living Wage nation by 2025 at the latest.
For fiscal policy, to ensure future fiscal consolidation minimizes the impact on child poverty and social mobility.
Tough choices will have to be made but the working poor will need to be better protected. The recommendation is that the Office of Budget Responsibility should publish an assessment of each Budget for its impact on social mobility and child poverty.
For social policy, to ensure that young people are not left behind as the labour market moves ahead.
Young people are losing out on jobs, wages and housing so the next government should commit to end long-term youth unemployment by 2020. The key recommendation is that half of all larger workplaces should offer quality apprenticeships.
For housing policy, to ensure it contributes to more social mobility and less child poverty.
This generation of young people is far less likely to progress onto the housing ladder than their parents’ generation. The key recommendation is to create new forms of housing tenure through expanded shared ownership schemes and reform of the private rented sector.
For education policy, to ensure it closes the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their better off peers.
Without a new focus the gap in attainment between the poorest children and their better-off peers will take 20 years to even halve. The key recommendation is that the best teachers should be paid more to teach in the worst schools to help end illiteracy and innumeracy in primary school by 2025 and to halve the attainment gap in secondary school by 2020.
For universities and employers, to ensure they recruit from a broader range of talent. Universities and professions are poised to expand dramatically and this needs to bring with it a social mobility dividend.
The key recommendation is for unpaid internships to be made illegal and for 5,000 more pupils from a free school meals background to be going to university by 2020.
Rt Hon Alan Milburn, Chair of the Commission said:
“The circumstances are so different, the challenges are so great that the old ways of thinking and acting that have dominated public-policy making for decades will simply not pass muster. What worked in the past will not serve as an adequate guide for the future. A new agenda is needed.”
Contact Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission
Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission
20 Great Smith Street
Latest News from
Department for Work and Pensions
Second 2023 to 2024 Cost of Living Payment dates announced20/09/2023 13:05:00
Millions of households across the UK will receive £300 directly from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) between 31 October and 19 November.
Pension saving boost for millions receives Royal Assent19/09/2023 15:10:00
A Private Members’ Bill to help millions save more into their pension and start saving sooner has cleared Parliament and been granted Royal Assent.
25,000 people to be helped into work as government ramps up roll-out of flagship Universal Support scheme13/09/2023 12:05:00
Up to 25,000 people will benefit from new employment support starting today as part of the Government’s flagship Universal Support programme.
Government joins forces with industry to create next generation of hospitality leaders12/09/2023 10:10:10
Jobseekers are now able to access a new Government-backed employment programme designed to fill vacancies in the hospitality sector.
Government announces new welfare reforms to help thousands into work06/09/2023 09:25:00
Disabled people and those with health conditions, who are currently being held back from improving their lives through work, will be better supported to realise their potential under Government plans reveiled yesterday.
Bereaved parents reminded to check eligibility for financial support07/08/2023 10:10:10
Bereaved parents who lost their partner between 9 April 2001 and 8 February 2023 may be eligible for backdated government payments.
Thousands of parents to benefit from more work coach support24/07/2023 14:20:00
From today (24 July 2023), parents of children aged 1 and 2 on Universal Credit will start to benefit from meeting more frequently with work coaches to help them prepare for work.
Swifter sanctions on unpaid child maintenance21/07/2023 17:05:00
Parents who fail to pay child maintenance will face tougher sanctions faster after new laws were passed yesterday (20/07/23) to speed up stronger enforcement action.