Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has appointed Barnardo’s chief executive Martin Narey to lead a commission on social mobility for the party.
Narey, who is also chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition, has been tasked with investigating why the UK has lower levels of social mobility than most other Western democracies, and why it has declined over recent decades.
Nick Clegg said: “In 2007, a child born into deprivaion is more likely to inherit his or her parents’ disadvantage than at any time in our recent past. I want to know why it is that Britain’s low levels of social mobility compare unfavourably with almost every other developed nation.”
Martin Narey said the evidence of declining social mobility was “particularly alarming” because of the potential for a child’s destiny to be determined at birth.
The commission will consider whether significant increases in public spending under the Labour government have helped social mobility – or are likely to do so in future – and what policy changes, within sensible spending limits, can promote greater life chances for poorer people.
The commission is due to report by the end of 2008.