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Wed, 21 October 2020

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Boris Johnson told to live up to election vows as poll finds North East voters feel most 'marginalised'

Boris Johnson told to live up to election vows as poll finds North East voters feel most 'marginalised'
3 min read

Boris Johnson has been urged to do more for voters in the North East of England as a new poll found that they feel more "marginalised" than the rest of the country.

A fresh study for the independent Social Mobility Commission found that just 31% of people living in the North East of England feel there are good opportunities to progress in the place where they live - sparking warnings that young people are being forced to "move out to move up".

That figure compares with 74% for the South East and 78% of those living in London.

The findings are barely better in the North West of England, where just 48% felt optimistic about the potential for them to get on in life.

The watchdog's latest Social Mobility Barometer - which polled just under 5,000 people - comes after an election campaign that saw the Tories nab a string of seats in the North East from Labour, including Redcar, Darlington, Durham North West, Sedgefield, and Bishop Auckland.

The Prime Minister told his newly-elected colleagues that they must "repay the public's trust" after coming to office on a Tory manifesto that vored to ramp up investment in areas including transport and skills.

But the Social Mobility Commission's new study lays bare the scale of the challenge facing the party, with more than half (52%) of those questioned across the country feeling the Government is not doing enough to help those who are least well off.

Thirty-nine percent of people across the UK now feel it is becoming harder to move up in British society, with just 22% believing it has become easier to progress.

Dame Martina Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility Commission said: "This year’s Social Mobility Barometer gives a clear message to the new Government. It shows that more than half of people feel that government does not give enough support to those who are struggling or to the least well off. It should be doing much more both at national and local level, they say."

And she added: "This poll is a ‘call to action’ for this new Government to do more to help social mobility. Politicians must listen to it. This is a great moment to start reversing inequities of generations. People must be given equal chances in life. We can help make it happen."

Labour seized on the findings from the watchdog, saying that its report came "as little surprise".

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner - who is also running to be the party's next leader - said: "For the last nine years, Tory-led austerity has had a devastating impact throughout the country.

"We need real change and meaningful policies. Ministers must focus on securing social justice for all, rather than a leg-up for a few."

The Government has been approached for comment.


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