Watch Norwich MPs Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis trade Harry Enfield puns in social mobility debate

Norwich MPs Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis take part in debate on social mobility

Norwich MPs Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis take part in debate on social mobility - Credit: Archant

Norwich's social-mobility problem is 'deep-rooted' a city MP has told parliament.

Conservative Chloe Smith, who called a debate on the issue in parliament after a new index showed it was the second worst place for a child to escape poverty, said the solution was not only about welfare and funding formulas, but also about ambition and leadership.

The Norwich North MP told parliament that she wanted all children in the city to have the knowledge, skills, confidence and network to meet and take chances of work experience.

Neighbouring Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, who was also at the debate, pointed out that a quarter of children in the city were living on low incomes.

He intervened on the debate to say that while there were lots of factors contributing to child attainment and social mobility, one of the key factors was child poverty.

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While Labour frontbencher Nick Thomas-Symonds questioned if changes to the new benefits system universal credit, which he said did not incentivise work, would really promote social mobility.

Work and pensions minister Justin Tomlinson, who was responding to the debate, said the government was determined to do more to improve children's life chances.

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He said they would be publishing a life chances strategy in the spring.

North Norwich MP Chloe Smith used the debate to highlight the achievements of famous Norfolk people including admiral Lord Nelson, revolutionary Thomas Paine, former Prime Minister Robert Walpole and the first woman writer in English, Julian of Norwich.

But said: 'However much I love my city and county and want to talk it up, it's wrong to ignore important research when it is presented.'

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