Cameron concedes that coalition may be failing on aiding social mobility
Eton and Oxford-educated prime minister David Cameron has admitted to reporters that there is “not as much social mobility as there needs to be” in Britain.
Cameron made the remarks on a flight to India in response to Tory ex-prime minister John Major’s comments earlier this week, which described the prevalence of privately-educated people in high public offices as “truly shocking”.
Commentators have interpreted Major’s remarks as a jibe at the current prime minister and his team, but Cameron has tried to deflect that criticism by agreeing with his predecessor. More than half of the current cabinet were privately-educated, compared to just 7% of the general population, a disparity that Major clearly sees as a serious concern.
Cameron claimed that the government is making progress on social mobility but “it is not fast enough and we need to go further and faster”.
Alan Milburn, the government’s social mobility advisor, has argued that what he described as “deep-rooted inequality and flat-lining mobility” was “decades in the making” and not down to any single party. He said elitism was “entrenched in British society” and had “all the hallmarks of social engineering”.
Milburn has made a number of recommendations and hopes successive governments, of whichever party, will heed his warnings. He said: “It should be a new and explicit objective of government policy to re-forge the link that has been broken between economic growth and earnings growth.”