"As this research makes clear, Britain is a deeply divided and unequal class-based society with those in the most powerful and prestigious professions much more likely to have attended private schools and Oxbridge than the country as a whole, despite these institutions educating a tiny minority of the population.

"It is simply unacceptable that in the 21st century, the biggest indicator of future employment, wealth and status is the school or university you attended and the wealth and social position of your parents.

"This research comes on top of other alarming evidence of growing inequality in Britain. The recent report from the UN special rapporteur on Poverty, Philip Alston, described poverty in the UK as 'systematic' and 'tragic' and said that our Government 'has remained determinedly in a state of denial'. (1). In addition, research highlighted yesterday showed that life expectancy in Britain is faltering, reversing a 100-year trend of growing life expectancy. (2)

"There were 4.1 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2016-17. That’s 30 per cent of children, or 9 in a classroom of 30. Despite the Government's claims that more people are in work, the fact is that work is not a route out of poverty, since among poor children, two thirds live in a household where at least one adult is working. (3)

"It is clear that the Government's emphasis on 'social mobility' has failed. Instead, Government must commit to tackling and ending poverty and inequality in the UK."

Notes to Editors

1. Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

2. Robin McKie, Why is Life Expectancy Faltering? Observer (23 June 2019). 

3.Child Poverty Facts and Figures, End Child Poverty Coalition website. 



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