Posts Tagged ‘networking Westminster Hall’

Time to make the old school tie work for the majority

02/07/2012, 01:43:47 PM

by Hazel Blears

Last week I co-sponsored a debate in Westminster Hall on the topic of social mobility. For those not familiar, Westminster Hall is the “parallel chamber” that the last Labour Government created in 1999 to extend the provision for debate in Parliament, and to give MPs opportunities to discuss a wider range of topics.

Social mobility, as Damian Hinds MP – chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on social mobility – rightly noted in his speech, can mean entirely different things to different people, and for that reason is often not easily quantified. However it is clear from the statistics that do exist that the United Kingdom is lagging behind other OECD counties when it comes to social mobility – in short, people from poorer backgrounds do not have the same opportunities to succeed.

This is a problem that is increasingly on the political agenda, and indeed has not been properly addressed by any government. Part of the reason for this failure is that too often politicians are afraid of innovative projects where success cannot be directly linked to the funding allocated. But at times when money is limited, it is crucial that politicians and decision makers think outside the box.

When in government, I was struck when told that seven out of ten people get their next job through somebody they know. Networks and contacts can offer people far more hope of employment than job centres, which means that there needs to be a far greater focus in helping people develop relationships and expand their contact books.


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