Entire board of social mobility body quits over Tory failings for “fairer Britain.”

Posted By: December 04, 2017


Gavin Cordon. Irish News. Belfast. December 4, 2017


Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave

after attending a church service near her Maidenhead constituency.

PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday, December 3, 2017.

Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire


MINISTERS have insisted the British government is committed to tackling inequality after the entire board of the social mobility commission quit in protest at the lack of progress towards a “fairer Britain.”

Alan Milburn, the former Labor minister who heads the commission, said he had “little hope” the Tory government was capable of making the changes necessary to deliver a more equal society.

He was joined in walking out by his three fellow commissioners, including the Conservative former cabinet minister Baroness Shephard.

The resignations are a major setback for Theresa May who entered No 10 promising to tackle the “burning injustices” that hold back poorer people.

Downing Street said the departures came after Mr. Milburn – whose term as commission chairman expired last July – was told that a new chairman was to be appointed and that an open application process would be held for the role.

In his resignation letter, Mr. Milburn said the preoccupation with Brexit meant the government “does not have the necessary bandwidth to ensure the rhetoric of healing social division is matched with the reality.”

“I have little hope of the current government making the progress I believe is necessary to bring about a fairer Britain,” he said.

“It seems unable to commit to the future of the commission as an independent body or to give due priority to the social mobility challenge facing our nation.”

Appearing on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr. Milburn said his reappointment for a second term was backed by education secretary Justine Greening, left, but she had failed to prevail in Whitehall.

“I have decided I am not going to reapply for the job and frankly neither are the other three commissioners,” he said.

“There is only so long you can that you can go on pushing water uphill.

“What is lacking here is meaningful political action to translate very good words into deeds. In the end what counts in politics is not what you talk about, it is what you do.

“What is needed is really clear leadership to translate perfectly good words into actions that will make a difference.”