Published: 6th May 2020

The chair of the government’s Social Mobility Commission has resigned and warned the coronavirus crisis will ‘only serve to make social mobility harder than ever’.

Dame Martina Milburn, who has been in the role since July 2018, wrote to the prime minister, announcing her resignation last week.

The details of the letter have now been published on the commission’s website.

In the letter, Dame Martina says her ‘day job’ as group chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, is now commanding her ‘full attention’.

‘I am extremely proud of what has been achieved at the commission in the last two years – appointing the 12 very diverse commissioners, re-establishing the secretariat and commissioning a variety of reports from the State of the Nation to an employers’ toolkit,’ she adds in the letter.

‘Currently, we have 16 reports in the pipeline, have conducted a popular series of webinars for employers and have begun to form partnerships with bodies such as the metro-mayors and with other important commissions. We have also brought the social mobility charities together and appointed a range of social mobility ambassadors.

‘However, it is not nearly enough and given the strong links between social mobility and poverty I fear this current crisis will only serve to make social mobility harder than ever.’

In May 2019, the commission published a state of the nation report, which warned that inequality is now ‘entrenched’ in Britain and that ‘being born privileged still means you remain privileged’.

The report added that social mobility has remained ‘virtually stagnant’ in Britain since 2014. Four years ago, almost two thirds (59%) of those from professional backgrounds were in professional jobs, rising to 60% last year.

In response, the education secretary Gavin Williamson thanked Dame Martina for the ‘strong and effective leadership’ she brought to the commission.

‘I want to congratulate you on your achievements as chair of the commission,’ wrote the education secretary.

‘By recruiting a strong set of diverse commissioners you brought new perspectives to increasing social mobility that will continue to drive the work of the commission going forwards.’

Photo Credit – Derwiki (Pixabay)

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