Report reveals lack of social mobility between Scottish boroughs


A study released by the UK Social Mobility Commission has revealed discrepancies between the services of local authorities. There is a gulf between what different councils are able to provide to tackle the attainment gap that impacts upon what sort of life young people could lead.

The level of literacy and numeracy differs by as much as a third between the wealthiest and most deprived countries. 

Using controversial new Scottish Government data, the SMC report ranks local authorities by the average gap in reading and writing attainment in P1, P7 and S3. At P1, the deprivation gap in the proportion of pupils reaching the expected level was almost 34% in Highland, the worst-performing area. At P7, Aberdeenshire came bottom of the table, with an attainment gap of over 40%. And Aberdeenshire saw the biggest difference between the best and worst-off pupils at S3, of 40%.

UK wide it was found that the worst performing areas for social mobility are no longer inner city areas, but remote rural and coastal areas, and former industrial areas, especially in the Midlands. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds living in these areas face far higher barriers than young people growing up in cities and their surrounding areas - and in their working lives, face lower rates of pay; fewer top jobs; and travelling to work times of nearly four times more than that of urban residents.

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said:

'The country seems to be in the grip of a self-reinforcing spiral of ever-growing division. That takes a spatial form, not just a social one. There is a stark social mobility lottery in Britain today.

London and its hinterland are increasingly looking like a different country from the rest of Britain. It is moving ahead as are many of our country’s great cities. But too many rural and coastal areas and the towns of Britain’s old industrial heartlands are being left behind economically and hollowed out socially.

Tinkering around the edges will not do the trick. The analysis in this report substantiates the sense of political alienation and social resentment that so many parts of Britain feel. A new level of effort is needed to tackle the phenomenon of left behind Britain. Overcoming the divisions that exist in Britain requires far more ambition and far bigger scale. A less divided Britain will require a more redistributive approach to spreading education, employment and housing prospects across our country.'


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