What Justine Greening says about social mobility – and what her voting record reveals about her

Education Secretary is first in history to have gone to a comprehensive school

Caroline Mortimer
Sunday 17 July 2016 15:50
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Justine Greening said social mobility had 'characterised' her personal and political life
Justine Greening said social mobility had 'characterised' her personal and political life

Education Secretary Justine Greening’s claim to “hugely care” about social mobility has been questioned by people who say it is at odds with her voting record.

In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the newly installed minister said social mobility had “characterised her personal life as well as her political life” as the first Education Secretary in history to have gone to a comprehensive school.

But some have pointed to the Conservative MP’s voting record suggesting it contradicts such a claim - she has never defied the party whip when voting for swingeing welfare cuts.

Ms Greening’s voting record on educational and welfare reform issues, which can be seen the TheyWorkForYou website, show she has repeatedly voted for ending financial support for students to stay on at school after 16 and to increase tuition fees - despite acknowledging the vital role education plays in social mobility.

She has also voted against schemes to guarantee jobs for young people who had been unemployed for a long time.

How Justine Greening voted on the key issues around social mobility:

How Justine Greening voted on Education

Consistently voted for greater autonomy for schools

Consistently voted for raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year

Consistently voted for academy schools

Consistently voted for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education

Consistently voted for university tuition fees

How Justine Greening voted on Welfare and Benefits

Almost always voted for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the "bedroom tax")

Generally voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices

Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability

Almost always voted for making local councils responsible for helping those in financial need afford their council tax and reducing the amount spent on such support

Almost always voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits

Almost always voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed

(Source: TheyWorkForYou.com)

Defending the record of her party on the programme, Ms Greening said: “This is about so much more than just the money - driving more and better opportunities for young people, making the best of Britain’s talent isn’t just the right thing to do it is also the smart thing to do for our economy”.

Others have criticised her claims, saying social mobility will not improve with public spending cuts and suggested she was using her comprehensive background to deflect criticism.

In her first speech as prime minister outside Downing Street on Wednesday, Theresa May said she was putting social mobility at the heart of her premiership.

She said she wanted to fight the “burning injustice” of inequality in the UK and she had a mission to “make Britain a country that works for everyone”.

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