A new report ranking every region of the country on social mobility places West Somerset as the lowest in the country and Weymouth and Portland as third lowest. Other areas of the region showing a low score in the State of the Nation report from the Social Mobility Commission include Gloucester and Torridge. The findings come against a backdrop of the loss of one million public sector jobs since 2010, something the GMB union has blamed on funding cuts, privatisation and outsourcing.

Commenting, Molly said:

“This new report show the impacts of a decade of austerity on some of the most disadvantaged people in our society. In the South West it is a story of neglect of vulnerable communities and the consequences of the chronic under-funding of the services they rely on to improve their life chances. The public sector has also traditionally offered a route to skilled and high-paid employment for those outside the major urban centres so the loss of one million public sector jobs due to funding cuts has closed off these opportunities in many regional economics.”

Molly also blamed a broken electoral system for a failure to improve the life chances of the poorest:

“In the South West around half of people voted Conservative in the last general election, yet the Tories hold over 85% of the 55 seats. This shows how desperately unfair and unrepresentative our first-past-the-post electoral system is. No wonder the Conservatives have no incentive to do anything to improve the life chances of some of the most excluded as so many Tory MPs sit in safe seats under such an electoral system.”

She also believes the Conservative government have squandered economic opportunities for the region:

“As well as the devastating impact of cuts to public services, which support some of the most highly paid jobs in the peripheral regions of the UK, hostile government policy towards the renewables sector has prevented the South West from building the Western Powerhouse and becoming a world leader in renewable energy technologies.”

Notes

[1] West Somerset 324th out of 324; Weymouth and Portland 322; Torridge 283; Gloucester 282.

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