In response to the Budget 2021, announced on Wednesday 3 March 2021 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, a Social Mobility Commission spokesperson said:
“This week’s Budget rightly focused on COVID-19 relief to ensure that social mobility does not get worse. While this was welcome, it could have gone further to ensure funds will drive the right outcomes for those hardest hit.
“Bringing work to towns in the North of England could address regional inequalities and will hopefully bring opportunities to new areas. But we would be keen to see this better targeted at deprived communities and clear outcomes to ensure that people in these places benefit.
“Our work has shown that where you are from matters. Disadvantaged young people can earn up to two times more in some areas of the country, even with the same levels of education. For too long, social mobility has been about moving out to move on; we need regional funding policies that give people the choice to stay and contribute to their local towns and cities. National and local government leaders will need to ensure employers, schools and colleges are encouraged to work together so that young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, have the skills needed to enter and develop in the workforces in their local area.
“It is therefore positive that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s introduction of an additional £126 million for traineeships to help people aged between 16-24 is a positive step to giving young people work placements that will give them the best start to their careers. We were also glad to see a continued focus on apprenticeships; however, it is unclear how this funding will ensure those who need access to apprenticeships the most will benefit.
“While we welcome the extension of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and other measures aimed at helping those who have been hardest hit by COVID, we hope to see more focus on socio-economic inequalities in the Autumn statement. The poor and the young will suffer most from an economic downturn – they need to be put at the heart of every policy and financial decision the government makes in the coronavirus recovery plan.”