Arun named social mobility ‘coldspot’ in national report

Aerial view of Littlehampton and the river Arun.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (111872-309) ENGPPP00120110622124823
Aerial view of Littlehampton and the river Arun. Picture: Allan Hutchings (111872-309) ENGPPP00120110622124823

Arun has been ranked one of the worst places in the country for social mobility.

It came 267th out of all 324 local authorities in England and has been named a ‘coldspot’ in a State of the Nation report from the Social Mobility Commission, published on Tuesday.

Arun is identified as one of a number of coastal areas where children from poorer backgrounds face huge challenges with their education and career prospects.

The commission uses a Social Mobility Index to assesses the education, employability and housing prospects of people living in each area and taking in every factor, Arun is ranked 267th overall.

Chichester is further down the list at 287

“A stark social mobility postcode lottery exists in Britain today where the chances of someone from a disadvantaged background succeeding in life is bound to where they live,” the report states.

“The chances of someone from a disadvantaged background getting on in life is closely linked to where they grow up and choose to make a life for themselves.”

It says it the picture is more complex than the traditional notion of a north/south divide, adding: “There is a stark social mobility postcode lottery in our country today.”

The report picks out Arun as an area where ‘substantial inequalities in educational attainment (are) linked to social disadvantage and place.

It states: Disadvantaged children in the coastal area of Arun do over three times worse at primary school than those in Kensington and Chelsea (19 per cent achieve the expected standard at key stage 2, compared with 60 per cent).

Six other authorities in the South East are identified as ‘coldspots’ – Crawley, Hastings, Gosport, Thanet, Chichester and West Berkshire.

GMB Southern regional secretary Paul Maloney said: “GMB want to see urgent action now in all seven areas identified by the Social Mobility Commission as ‘coldspots.’

He added: “In particular we want to see action that all local authorities should all become accredited Living Wage employers and encourage others in their communities to do likewise.”

The best performing local authority is Westminster and the worst is West Somerset.