Why are we letting down the poorest children in our region? MPs to debate why we are doing so badly when it comes to social mobility

A previous debate in Westminster Hall where today's debate on social mobility will happen today. PA

A previous debate in Westminster Hall where today's debate on social mobility will happen today. PA Wire - Credit: PA

The poor prospects of the most disadvantaged children in the region will be debated in parliament today.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said she was 'extremely concerned' after a recent Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission report found that Norwich was the second worst place in the country to escape poverty.

Norwich, Waveney and Fenland were among the top 10 social mobility 'coldspots' identified in a new index drawn up by a government-appointed commission which has been set up to address the gap between poorer children and their better-off classmates.

The survey of life chances was conducted across the 324 local authorities in England.

Ms Smith said she would be raising the national and local aspects of the debate, and would focus on the attainment of children in their early years and at school and would also look at people's chances of getting a decent job, pay and housing.

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'Whilst there is no single simple answer, it is crucial that we start to look more closely at the way in which these issues come together,' she said, adding that she would be convening a roundtable discussion on the issue in April.

Neighbouring MP for Norwich South Clive Lewis, who is unable to speak tomorrow because of long-standing engagements with the Alzheimer's Society and a charity which supports veterans with housing problems, said it was 'scandalous' that almost six years into the Conservative government people who were born poor in Norwich were more likely than almost anywhere in the country to die poor.

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'With disadvantaged children from Norwich almost bottom of the league for GCSEs, it's simply not enough for Chloe Smith to support the abstract concept of social mobility. Six years into Tory-led government, the most needy children in our city are being left behind and they need action not just warm words.'

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