Norfolk baroness Gillian Shephard will today take up her role helping to lead a new body which aims to fight child poverty and improve social mobility in the UK.

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The former MP for South West Norfolk has been appointed deputy chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission which meets for the first time today.

The body was established by the coalition government, but is non-political; it will be chaired by former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn.

Baroness Shephard said: “There are two distinct areas of work. One is looking at child poverty, ascertaining exactly what it is and how it impacts on social mobility. We’ll be looking at whether it is about money, social issues, education and so on.

“The other side is addressing the situation in which seven per cent of the population that is educated independently accounts for 70pc of high court judges, 54pc of top journalists and 54pc of FTSE 100 CEOs.

“It’s extraordinary that we are still in this position as a country and we need to understand the elements that mean this is continuing to happen.”

The commission will advise the government and will monitor its progress on how it implements the most recent UK child poverty strategy.

It will also be tasked to challenge non-government institutions such as universities and big business to ensure they are doing enough to improve social mobility.

Other people sitting on the board of the commission, which has a three-year life span, include Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo’s and Tom Attwood a director at the Centre for Social Justice.

Among the group’s first task will be to look at how the government measures child poverty – an issue which has sparked heated debate between the coalition and Labour parties recently.

Baroness Shephard, who was education secretary in John Major’s government, said: “Raising aspirations is incredibly important. It’s an area that I’m very interested in, I’m very pleased to have been given the job.”

joseph.watts@archant.co.uk

6 comments

  • This subject area has been investigated ad nauseam We know the problems. Others worth a look are redistribution of wealthand qwnership of wealth Oh for a poltical party which would say it and do it This is just another silly coalition of Tory and new labour which became impossible to distinguish

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    No to tory boy

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • non political !! is that meant to be joke??? is this "new committee" doing it without pay? if not who is paying them? "the government?" so its not politics free as the government will only allow them so much free reign before we start seeing the edited reports . just for once in this lifetime it would be nice if all these higherarcy politicians took thier large pensions and retired once and for all instead of popping up in tv reality shows or to head new government schemes !!!!!

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

  • Child poverty has thrived under the Conservatives and more children are now in poverty than ever before. Children's abilities are unable to lift them out of poverty and students leaving universities in debt, finding it hard to find work, especially mature students. looking at the poverty indicators first, rather than tackling the sources of this poverty, is wasting time. massaging the figures will not put bread on the table.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • I find it hard to think of someone less qualified than the Baroness to have anything to do with this. It is also a lot of hot air spent in chasing the obvious. If, in this country, you are born into privilege (i.e. good family, money, the chance of a good education, Old School Tie networking and the rest) then, in varying degrees, you will join the select Seven Percent. If you don't have these advantages, then you have to join the smaller percentage of those who started out without them, yet "made it" in some way.

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    T Doff

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • Lets hope they declare their interests in companies which indirectly bring about child poverty so they can bring their incomparable knowledge of the subject to proceed

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    No to tory boy

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

  • A commission to investigate and explain the old boy network? I can't think of anyone more inappropriate than this awful *****. So the ConDems get rid of quangos and replace them with 'commissions'. Presumably if a child's family has access to a foodbank they are not considered to be in poverty?

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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