Poor in Scarborough face uphill struggle

SCARBOROUGH SCENE SETTER --- Scene setter of Scarborough landmarks. // South Bay. Saturday 18th July 2015. HARRY ATKINSON
SCARBOROUGH SCENE SETTER --- Scene setter of Scarborough landmarks. // South Bay. Saturday 18th July 2015. HARRY ATKINSON
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A child born into a poor family in Scarborough is more likely to die poor than a child in any other part of Yorkshire, a shocking new study has revealed.

A “geography of disadvantage” for England’s children has been laid bare in the new report which labels Scarborough as a social mobility blackspot.

While London and the surrounding areas are doing well in giving youngsters a decent education and the opportunity of a good job, other parts of the country, particularly coastal and industrial towns, including Scarborough, are fast becoming entrenched social mobility “coldspots”.

The Social Mobility Index ranks each of England’s 324 local authority areas on the chances of a poor child doing well at school and getting a good job, based on a series of measures including exam results and the local job and housing market, with the top 20 per cent classed as ‘hotspots’ and worst performing 20 per cent deemed to be “coldspots”.

In total, 33 per cent of Yorkshire authorities were classed as “coldspots”.

The coastal and industrial towns that performed badly, finding a place in the worst performing 20 per cent of authorities include Blackpool in ninth and Scarborough back in 13th.

London and its commuter belt were the best performing.

Former Health Secretary and Darlington MP Alan Milburn chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which produced the report, said the findings “lay bare the local lottery in social mobility” adding that it was “shocking” that some of the richest parts of the country are among those that are failing poor children.

Mr Milburn said: “This report is a wake-up call for educators and employers as well as policy-makers, both local and national. If social mobility is to take off, much more will need to be done if there is to be a level playing field of opportunity in our country. The gulf between the ambition of a One Nation Britain and today’s reality of a divided Britain is far too wide.”

Mr Milburn also raised Scarborough as an area of national concern when he appeared on Radio 4 on Sunday to discuss the Commission’s findings.

Cllr Derek Bastiman, Scarborough Council leader said: “The council and its partners in both the public and provide sectors have worked hard in recent years and continue to do so in bringing new industries to the area that will strengthen long term employment prospects.

“The coast’s manufacturing and creative sectors continue to go from strength to strength and we are now looking forward to the ambitious developments of York Potash and the offshore wind industry in the next few years.

“To ensure these industries can secure employees with the right skills on their doorsteps, we are working with our partners to ensure we have the best educational providers with the most appropriate skills development courses to match business needs. The county council continues to work hard to drive up standards in our area’s schools and before the end of this year a new university will be open in the form of Coventry University Scarborough Campus. Scarborough UTC will have also welcomed its first students.

“Both providers have the full backing of the borough’s business community, which will continue to work with them to develop students into a strong and talented workforce to shape the future of our borough.”