Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Tuesday, 5 April 2011 15:47 UK

Social mobility statement

Deputy Lords leader Lord McNally has told peers that the government plans to create a "social mobility and child poverty commission".

Updating peers on the government's social mobility strategy on 5 April 2011, Lord McNally said the statutory body would hold ministers to account on how well they were meeting their objectives.

Repeating a statement made earlier in the Commons by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Lord McNally said: "A fair society is an open society in which everyone is free to flourish and rise regardless of the circumstances of their birth."

He said that social mobility had "flat-lined" under the previous Labour government, even though the party had "thrown money" at boosting it.

The coalition aimed to "narrow gaps in educational attainment", increase apprenticeship funding, and curb unpaid internships.

Labour's Lord Knight of Weymouth defended his party's record in office, but he said he welcomed the government's aims.

"Social mobility is an important cause for us to rally around, but I am not sure that people will take this strategy seriously," he said, describing it as "short on positive action".

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