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Lords Social Mobility Committee to question Nick Clegg

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, former Deputy Prime Minister, who had responsibility for the coalition Government's overall strategy for social mobility, will face questions from the House of Lords Committee charged with investigating the transition of school leavers into work, on Wednesday 15 July.

In April 2011, Mr Clegg launched the coalition Government's strategy for social mobility, Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers, which it published alongside its child poverty strategy. Its aim was to “tackle unfairness at every stage of life with specific measures to improve social mobility from the Foundation Years to school and adulthood.”

The House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility will also hear from experts in the youth labour market and on transitions from school to work.

Questions the Committee are likely to put to Mr Clegg include:

  • How do you define social mobility, and what factors do you think influence upward social mobility, particularly for school leavers?
  • What consideration was given to the ‘missing middle' in this strategy?
  • What policies were most successful in moving towards improving social mobility for school leavers during your time in Government?
  • Did the coalition Government ever consider looking at education and training policy for the skills system which currently divides provision for 16-24 year olds between two departments?
  • What is your one key suggestion for a change this Committee could recommend to improve upwards mobility?

The ‘missing middle' is the group of young people who are not on the ‘royal route' of A-levels and higher education nor are classified as not in employment, education or training (NEET) – and constitutes 40-50 per cent of 16-19 year olds.

This first evidence session will take place from 11.05am.

In the following session, at 11.50am, the Committee will hear from academics, including Professor Andy Green, Director of ERSC Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), Institute of Education, University College London; Professor Paul Gregg, Professor of Economic and Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Analysis and Social Policy at the University of Bath; and Professor Ken Roberts, Professor of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool.

Questions the Committee are likely to put to these witnesses include:

  • How are young people's choices and opportunities being affected by changes to the UK economy?
  • What are the challenges facing the ‘missing middle', those 16-19 year olds neither classed as NEET nor in higher education?
  • Are the middle classes hoarding jobs at the expense of the working classes?
  • What labour market policies are needed to address this?
  • How does the UK's post-16 landscape compare to other countries?
  • How would you describe the main elements of successful transition into work for school leavers?
  • What role can regional bodies play in making a difference?

The evidence sessions will take place on Wednesday 15 July in Committee Room 3A of the House of Lords.

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