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Dismantling the barriers to social mobility, 13/05/14 [E/NI/S/W]

This Trades Union Congress paper asks if social mobility is going into reverse and it considers what the connections are between social mobility and inequality and what policies might help a recovery of social mobility.

It argues that these answers are important because stalled social mobility is at the heart of the modern battle of ideas and cuts in benefits and services are likely to lead to a growth in inequality dwarfing that of the 1980s.

The report advises that it is the level of inequality before taxes and benefits that seems to be most important and the other big issues for a social mobility agenda are the importance of child poverty and women’s full-time jobs. Social mobility is not particularly strong in ‘Anglo Saxon’ societies with weak welfare states and low tax. It is strong in the ‘Nordic’ countries, with well-funded, universal welfare states and high rates of women’s employment.

In the past, the TUC has pointed to the ‘Iron Triangle’ connecting women’s poverty, child poverty and in-work poverty. This pamphlet suggests three predistribution steps that could address these issues and increase social mobility: childcare, education investments and reforms and using the National Insurance system to enhance paid time off work for family responsibilities.

For full details see the TUC website.

Further Information

Dismantling the barriers to social mobility