THE new head of Government’s Social Mobility Commission has come under pressure from an MP to set out plans to ensure children and young people across the Bradford district are not left behind.

Shipley MP Philip Davies questioned newly-appointed Chair Katharine Birbalsingh, after a damning report found Bradford district to be one of the worst areas for social mobility in the country.

Speaking in his role as member of the Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee. Mr Davies called for answers over what measures will be introduced to ensure the best life chances for everyone across the Bradford district.

Mr Davies said: “A table in the Social Mobility Commission’s report in 2020, “The long shadow of deprivation”, highlighted a number of areas that were named as some of the least socially mobile places in the country: Chiltern, Hyndburn, Gateshead and Bradford, which is where my constituency is. What do you propose to do in your role to ensure places like Bradford, where I am, do not get left behind?”

The report said regional leaders should draw up tailored local programmes to boost social mobility and urged Government to extend schemes to help local authorities identified as the areas with the most entrenched disadvantage.

Ms Birbalsingh said: “It is an interesting question, and it is something that I cannot tell you right now. That is the whole point of the position: to talk to people, to have the commissioners, to discuss and to think, “How do we expand that?” There is good work going on everywhere; we just need to find ways of pushing that out.”

She told Mr Davies more work needed to be done to ensure good quality jobs were available in all areas of the country.

She added: “There is little point, of course, in talking about ways into the workplace if there is not much work to go into. That is something that I am not an expert at right now, but I would want to look into.

“It is great to have apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy, but what is the point? It will not help in areas where there are not many businesses to pay the apprenticeship levy. That is something that I would love to look into.

"I would love to have commissioners who could help me with that and see about making it so that children across the country have the opportunity to get into a variety of jobs.”

Mr Davies said he warmly welcomed Ms Birbalsingh’s appointment and looked forward to working with her to improve social mobility across the Bradford district.