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UCU response to 'depressing' Social Mobility Commission poll

15 June 2017 | last updated: 16 June 2017

UCU said today that the government must support education as a key driver of social mobility if it is to unlock young people's potential.

The union described as 'depressing' a poll from the Social Mobility Commission that revealed almost half of people (48 per cent) think where you end up in society in modern Britain is mainly determined by your background.

The poll also found that:

  • two-thirds of people (66 per cent) say poorer people have less opportunity to get into a professional career
  • three-quarters of people (76 per cent) say poorer people have less opportunity to go to a top university
  • four in five people (79 per cent) believe there is a large gap between the social classes in Britain today.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The findings of this poll make depressing reading and must act as a wake-up call to politicians to do more to encourage opportunity in our country. We believe education can play a crucial role in improving people's life chances, but in order to do that it needs proper government funding and support.

'Young people do seem very pessimistic about their future, but we must remember that they have seen their pay fall, the jobs market remain incredibly difficult, tuition fees rocket and support to stay on at college disappear.'