SMC response to the Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper

Responding to the publication of Government’s Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper, Social Mobility Commission Chair Katharine Birbalsingh and Deputy Chair Alun Francis said:

We welcome the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper, and the fact that it gives a clear framework to address disparities between regions and communities. These communities are full of talented individuals and we must do everything we can to empower them to thrive. Each of the missions the paper sets out are hugely important, and it is crucial that checks and balances are in place to ensure that local government bodies, both existing and new, are held to account for their delivery.
The Commission has been clear that social mobility must be a core objective of levelling up. We are pleased to see that equipping young people with the tools they need to succeed in life is at the heart of this strategy, and that it includes measures that can contribute to social mobility through every stage of a young person’s journey, from early childhood through education, training and employment.
The missions are aspirational and pose the right questions, but are also hugely ambitious. The test will be in the detail and the implementation – not just boosting skills, but which skills will be taught and how; not just aiming for essential literacy and numeracy, but defining the most effective ways to achieve them. Ultimately, levelling up will be judged on how well it creates opportunities in places they did not exist before. A key test will be how we help those with the fewest opportunities find decent work – this is not just about stories of rags-to-riches. More still needs to be done to stimulate the creation of much-needed quality private sector jobs in the most deprived areas.

As the Social Mobility Commission we stand ready to work with the government to flesh out that detail, advise on the best ways to make these missions a reality, and ensure that levelling up empowers people up and down the country to stand on their own two feet.

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