Guest Blog: Ben Bradley MP
We live in a divided country.
But not the type of division that you’re thinking about - the one that seems to be continuously splashed across the headlines, hogging political discourse and dragging on all too long. In fact, I won’t even mention the B-word!
What I’m talking about is what everyone else should be talking about: levels of social mobility across our country.
I’m talking about the reality of where a child is born directly affects his/her life opportunities. A postal address lottery for lifetime prosperity or poverty.
I personally refuse to accept that someone’s chances in life should be determined because of where they’re born and grow up. I know that as a country we are better than this.
I’m proud to be the Member of Parliament for Mansfield. A beautiful part of the country with hard working people and families.
It just so happens that Mansfield is a pretty isolated place with poor links to the rest of the region.
This means that while many of opportunities are out there, across The Midlands and the UK, they’re just difficult or nearly impossible to get to.
This creates a geographic inequality that can have damning implications for people.
Shortly after I was elected, the Social Mobility Commission published its Social Mobility Index. This ranked every constituency in the UK in terms of levels of social mobility, local opportunities and schools.
I was disappointed to see that Mansfield is ranked the 10th worst area for social mobility and opportunities in the entire country. To put this into perspective, this means our area comes 315th out of 324 areas for life prospects.
This is unacceptable.
I want to change this reality and help create more opportunities for local people of all ages. This is why I will be working with the Social Mobility Pledge and local businesses on helping develop practical solutions to boost opportunities in our local communities.
The Pledge is bringing together the best businesses and institutions when it comes to improving of social mobility.
I’m proud to say that two of these are in our region. Nottingham Trent University is using data to tackle the progression gap of deprived students dropping out of higher education within their institution, while Severn Trent is working to offer more of the best quality apprenticeships and opportunities for young people and adults across the Midlands, while holding all suppliers to the same high ethical standards.
I will be looking at how our local businesses in Mansfield can do more to help level out the playing field of opportunity for young people and adults in our area.
As part of this I will be visiting local businesses in Mansfield, as well as our local schools and colleges to learn more about the barriers that young people feel they face.
I think it's important that all MPs keep their constituents updated on the work they’re doing and that’s why I will be reporting back on my social mobility findings as I visit schools and local businesses.
I’m looking forward to the challenge of tackling the issue of low social mobility in Mansfield and boosting opportunity for all our young people and indeed adults.