A government-commissioned report has warned that the decade 2010-2020 could mark a watershed moment where the general rise in living standards do not reach the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
“The link between effort and reward on which social mobility relies has been broken by changes in the housing market – with home ownership rates halving among young people in 20 years – and the labour market – with 5 million workers trapped in low pay.
“When combined with cuts in welfare and public spending, these changes put Britain on track to become a permanently divided nation unless radical new approaches are taken by the next government to meet this 2020 challenge. It finds no political party is being honest about the impact of planned spending cuts or has sufficiently ambitious plans to tackle entrenched levels of low pay.”
The authors target government policies of austerity in unfairly targeting the poorest and those most in need, and proposes that the Office of Budget Responsibility should publish an assessment of each Budget for its impact on social mobility and child poverty, to allow the public to see which groups are being worst affected by cuts.
The report also proposes a number of changes to government policy to try to rectify the situation including the introduction of the living wage by 2025 and a focus on providing jobs and affordable housing for young people, who have been excluded from the UK’s recent growth out of recession.