IRR News (7 – 21 October 2021)


IRR News (7 – 21 October 2021)

Fortnightly Bulletin

Written by: IRR News Team


Social mobility, ‘geographic inequality’ and a new culture war

This week, the IRR warns that Katharine Birbalsingh’s appointment as chair of the Social Mobility Commission, much like the ‘levelling up’ agenda, merely confirms the government’s intention to ignore inconvenient aspects of inequality. A timely piece on IRR News, Social mobility, ‘geographic inequality’ and a new culture war by Jessica Perera dissects key policy announcements and discussion papers on social mobility and education since 2017, debunking simplistic and racialised messages especially around ‘geographic inequality’. Perera concludes that the perverse suggestion, that upward social mobility is now geographically dividing England, with levelling up being found by and large in London and the South-East (contained in both the report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and the Education Select Committee report, The Forgotten: how white working-class pupils have been let down) was only reached by ignoring overwhelming evidence of disproportionate school exclusions – particularly of black Caribbean children from London schools, as well as the impact of a separate education system comprised of Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provision.

When it comes to downward mobility, all the evidence shows that it is people from working-class backgrounds, particularly racialised minorities, and especially those born outside the UK, who are most impacted. Another reason why the growing opposition to the UK Nationality and Border Bill, currently at Commons Committee Stage, which we document in our regular Calendar of Racism and Resistance, is so important. What future is there for these new communities when government laws institutionalise so many injustices in the refugee-determination procedure, and where young people from a migrant background can be forced into poverty because of parental or carers’ immigration status, a ban on work and the no recourse to public funds policy?

IRR News team


The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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