Social mobility is an issue which every Government, of all different colours, attempts to grapple with and address. It’s an issue that, no matter where you find yourself on the political spectrum, we all want to improve people’s life chances.
For me improving social mobility is one of the main reasons I’m a Conservative. I passionately believe that it doesn’t matter where you started in life, its where you get to that matters the most.
At the heart of improving social mobility is education. Every child deserves a great education no matter where they’re from or where they live. Earlier this month the House of Commons Library published its Social Mobility Index, which provides some encouraging results for Redditch. It found 92% of students eligible for free school meals are attending a good or outstanding primary school. As well as that, 100% of students eligible for free school meals in Redditch are attending a good or outstanding secondary school.
As encouraging as this data is, there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made here in Redditch to ensure everyone can get on in life, no matter their background. Wages in our town are still lagging behind the West Midlands average. The Government has taken steps to address this by introducing and increasing the National Living Wage, and by increasing the income tax threshold which has lifted millions of people out of paying income tax altogether.
We need more businesses here in Redditch creating high paid jobs too. I’m encouraged by the fact 355 businesses have been set-up in our town since 2010, creating more opportunity and more choice of jobs for residents. I want to see this continue, and I believe the Government’s Industrial Strategy will enable this growth to continue.
Social mobility should always be at forefront of Government policy. There isn’t a silver bullet to address this issue, but I have made it one of my missions to do all that I can as your MP to work with the Government to improve social mobility.