The impact of inequality.
Positive social mobility is about ensuring young people are free to achieve their full potential, be able to access employment opportunities that realise this potential and which support them to live fulfilling lives. However, this isn’t the case.
Child poverty is one of the biggest issues blighting London today. It is estimated that 700,000 children live in relative poverty: 43 per cent of those live in inner London and 34 per cent are in outer boroughs.
Three quarters of young Londoners live in areas which experience the worst 40% of national crime.
Today, London can be viewed as hosting two worlds in one city: one of great wealth, and the other, where young people are locked out of opportunities and fulfilment due to circumstances such as background, income and locality.
Despite improving academic success in the capital and a narrowing of the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and their more affluent peers, young Londoners from low income backgrounds are 17% less likely to move into managerial or professional roles compared to 30% nationally (Social Mobility Commission 2019).
London is renowned for its strong job market. Many of England’s most sought-after jobs are in the capital. However, having a successful job market is not in itself enough to ensure social mobility. To do so, it needs to generate opportunities that translate young people’s academic successes into appropriate careers.
Over the last decade, London’s local authorities have faced some of the UK’s most severe cuts in statutory public funding, combined with decreases in non-statutory funding.
Council budgets have declined in 30 out of 32 of London boroughs since 2011 on a per-capita basis. By 2020, London boroughs’ spending power per person will have fallen by 37% in real terms, compared to 29% across the rest of England. This reduction in funding has had enormous implications for civic infrastructure and has reduced the support ecosystem and actors’ ability to deliver their support, as is exhibited in:
Direct reductions in spending on public services (e.g. healthcare, housing, cultural activities)
Secondary effects on non-statutory bodies, which have reduced capacity to provide and direct support
As a result of statutory cuts, there has been a sharp decline in the number of formal delivery channels, greatly reducing the availability of support to young people. The remaining services cite that they have a reduced capacity to channel non-statutory support.
Since 2011, the 31% reduction in expenditure on youth services has led to the removal of over 500 youth worker posts from council services. Almost half of all London’s youth centres have closed during this period.