62015Nov

Equal opportunities are vital for social mobility

Click HERE to read my latest column in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald (05 Nov 15).
Michelle Donelan Column in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald 5 Nov 15

One of the greatest challenges that we face as a society is how to enable better social mobility. This is at the core of why I chose to stand to be a Member of Parliament. Equality of opportunities is not just right but vital – only through a wide range of choices and chances do people aspire and thrive. A postcode or bank balance should not cap someone’s dreams before they have begun.

Last week was very busy for me but my three highlights were about improving social mobility.

Firstly, I had the opportunity to question the Prime Minister about what more could be done for young people in care to improve the opportunities available to them because research shows how much more limited their life chances are. I was delighted surprised with the PM’s answer, he announced that there will be a ‘root and branch review’ of the care system by the former head of Barnardo’s to see what more can be done to improve the opportunities for these children.

Secondly, I met with the Sutton Trust. A charity who focus on getting children from poorer backgrounds into the UKs top universities. I hope to work with them to ensure that all children, regardless of background, have the same opportunities in life.

Thirdly, I offered a week’s half term work experience to an A-level student through The Social Mobility Foundation – a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds. Kaltrina is 18 years old Kosovan who came to the UK when she in the 90s as her family fled the war. She spent a week in my Westminster office helping constituents and doing research for my speeches. She hopes to go onto Bristol University to study medicine and be a doctor. She is predicted three A’s at A-level and I predict great things for her future. A Refugee welcomed to this country fleeing a war, becoming an NHS doctor and more than repaying everything that the UK has given her.

In a week where there has been a lot of talk of benefits and spending cuts, perhaps the greatest benefit we can give is to ensure that everyone has the greatest opportunities life can offer, regardless of where they start from. This is the single thing that drives me most as a Member of Parliament.