LDVideo: Clegg – Britain must shake off ‘snobbish’ class attitudes

by Stephen Tall on May 22, 2012

Nick Clegg today spoke of his aim to boost social mobility at a conference organised by the Sutton Trust, arguing Britain must create an open society “where what matters most is the person you become, not the person you were born.”

“These are challenging times but that doesn’t mean we can give up on making society fairer and helping people get on in life. In the past year, since we published the Government’s first social mobility strategy, we’ve made great progress – school children are benefiting from a cash injection through the Pupil Premium, young people are getting into jobs and training through the Youth Contract, and we’re expanding the number of families who get free childcare.

“We must create a more dynamic society. One where what matters most is the person you become, not the person you were born. Government cannot do this alone, but we must take the lead. So we’re exposing the stark gaps in life chances by publishing a wide range of tracking data to show how well society is doing here and now. No government has done this. The data shows we’ve got a long way to go, but that’s why it’s there – to hold a flame to our feet until the gaps close. It’s not an overnight fix, but it is a long term ambition that is achievable.”


(Available on the BBC website here.)

In his speech Nick announced government plans to publish a “snapshot” of social mobility in the UK using 17 “trackers”, including birth weight, social background and eligibility for free school meals. His office says this is ‘the first time that any government in the world has published such data.’

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.