Social mobility in the UK remains far lower than in other advanced nations in spite of the government’s professed determination to tackle inequality, according to research from the London School of Economics.
The potential for children born in 2000 to move to a higher income bracket than their parents is still as low as it was for children born in 1970, the report said.
LSE researchers found that children’s life chances were still firmly linked to parental background. For example, children from affluent backgrounds who did badly in test scores when aged three tended to overtake poorer but more gifted children by the age of seven.
The report, undertaken for the Sutton Trust, an education charity, casts doubt on the effectiveness of government reforms to tackle class inequality. Earlier this year Alan Johnson, then education secretary, said Labour policies since 1997 meant poor children were likely to have “a much better chance to escape the limitations of their background”.
The research continued work by the same authors who ranked the UK alongside the US for low social mobility, while Canada, Germany and the Scandinavian nations were significantly more mobile.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “Shamefully, Britain remains stuck at the bottom of the international league tables when it comes to social mobility.
“It is appalling that young people’s life chances are still so tied to the fortunes of their parents, and that this situation has not improved over the last three decades.”