Social mobility shock prompts key talks - The Evesham Observer

Social mobility shock prompts key talks

Evesham Editorial 14th Dec, 2017   0

COUNCIL chiefs have revealed a county-wide summit will be held in March to tackle the concerns over social mobility for young people across the Vale.

Members of Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council, children services providers and headteachers will be invited to the meeting to discuss efforts to elevate the district from its lowly position of 310 out of 324 local authorities.

The findings, published in the Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation report, saw Wychavon fall within the bottom 20 per cent of local authorities in the UK.

Wychavon is at the heart of a Midlands region which is the worst region in the country for social mobility with the district the worst in Worcestershire .

The district, which includes Evesham and Pershore, is the worst area in the West Midlands for social mobility according to the report. According to the figures, it ranks below Redditch, Worcester and Malvern Hills while Bromsgrove is near the top of the charts.

Wychavon chiefs proposed the summit on Wednesday evening during a debate on the report led by Pershore councillor Charles Tucker who claimed the council had failed to tackle the growing inequality in Wychavon.

Coun Tucker called for an urgent review of the council’s priorities and also raised the prospect of making a bid for a share of £16million of European funding available to the council until 2019.

“We have become a community of two halves, those who have benefited from our prosperity and those who haven’t,” he said.

His remarks were seized on by council leader Coun Linda Robinson who said Wychavon had been ‘on the front foot’ in its bid to tackle the problems.

“The issue of social mobility has existed under a number of Governments and we should be pulling together to tackle the issues and not scoring cheap political points,” she said.

Coun Robinson proposed the summit as part of an amendment and won support from a number of Conservative councillors including deputy leader Coun Lynne Duffy.

“We are all concerned about the figures and we are currently looking at them in great detail,” she said.

Coun Duffy highlighted the pilot project working with young people in Droitwich and said it would be extended to other areas should it prove successful.

In response to the amendment, Coun Tucker said: “There is a lot more to do and we need to get on with it.

“The gap between the surveys which rate Wychavon as a great place to live but with low social mobility is something we must not ignore.

“We have an opportunity to deal with it and I propose we do, as quickly as possible,” he added.

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