Towns are cold spots for social mobility claims new report - The Evesham Observer

Towns are cold spots for social mobility claims new report

Evesham Editorial 8th Dec, 2017   0

OPPORTUNITIES for children from low-income families in Evesham and Pershore are among the lowest in the country, with the area being dubbed a ‘coldspot’ for social mobility, a damning report has revealed.

The findings, published in the Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation report last Tuesday 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, 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.

A series of rankings from early years education provision through to average wages earned in working life were used to determine the figures and reveal areas for improvement for areas such as Worcester.

In their report, the commission said: “On the whole, the urban areas surrounding Birmingham rank in the top third of the country, due to very strong education outcomes, while sparsely populated areas, such as Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, fall in the bottom third.”

Despite the low ranking for education and early years, it appears Wychavon does close the gap when young people reach employment with figures for adulthood rated much better than other areas.

Responding to the report, concerned council chiefs confirmed a pilot project to tackle the issue had been launch earlier this year.

Deputy council leader, Coun Lynne Duffy, said: “We are very concerned about social mobility and this is why we have launched a pilot with our partners to support families and young people.

“We have started this in earnest in an area of Droitwich – working with schools, the police and other agencies.

“Improving social mobility takes time however, but we will focus on projects that we feel will have the biggest impact long term.”

Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston told the Observer he was disappointed with the ranking and expressed his concern for the region as a while.

“The problems this report reveals are exactly those the Government and local authorities are trying to address.

“The report also shows that social mobility is not just an issue for urban or inner city areas but an issue that needs to be address in leafy rural areas and shire towns, too.

“Housing affordability is an issue locally, and while there has been a significant increase in housebuilding in the Wychavon area recently, we need to focus even more on affordable homes and on schemes to enable people to get on the housing ladder for the first time.

“Whilst we should not ignore the worrying trends this report has highlighted, we should certainly be hopeful these efforts are making significant strides to address them and we will see a more positive outlook for social mobility in our area in the future.”

Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin expressed her suprise at the findings and defended the achievements of local people.

“Wychavon has wonderful schools, with nine out of ten Worcestershire schools rated good or outstanding,” she said.

“Youth unemployment has fallen dramatically and unemployment is very low.

“As Wychavon is rated one of the best places in the country to live in, perhaps residents do not want to leave and this affects the statistics.”

* What do you think? E-mail [email protected] with your views

So how does Wychavon rate in the areas examined in the report which ranked all 324 local authorities:

Early Years – 320th

School Age – 229th

Youth – 297th

Adulthood – 150th

Overall social mobilty rank – 310th


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