The report predicts that 2020 is set to mark the end of the first decade since records began without a fall in absolute poverty. Even with a strong economic recovery and a record number of people in work the Commission has found that the social recovery needed to get Britain back on track to abolish child poverty has not happened.
The link between effort and reward, on which social mobility relies, the Commission says, 'has been broken by changes in the housing market - with home ownership rates halving among young people in 20 years - and the labour market - with 5 million workers trapped in low pay.'
Chair of the Commission Alan Milburn, said:
"The circumstances are so different, the challenges are so great that the old ways of thinking and acting that have dominated public-policy making for decades will simply not pass muster. What worked in the past will not serve as an adequate guide for the future. A new agenda is needed."The next UK Government in 2015 will have to adopt radical new approaches if poverty is to be beaten, mobility improved and if Britain is to avoid becoming a permanently divided society. 'We have reached a crossroads', the Commission says, with three roads open to the next Government:
- Continue with the current confusion where noble ambitions – lower poverty, higher mobility – are not complemented by consistent or clear enough policies.
- Accept that progress will not be made, that poverty will rise and that mobility will fall.
- Reset our ambitions as a nation in the light of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. To define clear objectives and timescales for reducing – and then ending - child poverty and improving social mobility.