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Recent report reveals UK to be driven by elitism

Posted by Hannah Walker in

According to research undertaken by the head of a government-appointed commission, the UK is a "deeply elitist country." The report revealed that several leading UK professions, such as banking, law and medicine, are run by the privately educated. Only 7% of the population in this country is educated at public schools, and less than 1% are Oxford and Cambridge graduates, and yet, the research notes that these graduates are "dramatically over-represented" in the work place and hold highly influential positions. The report indicated that even amongst the England cricket team, one-third had a fee-paying education. Alan Milburn, who chairs the commission, stated that it was unavoidable in coming to the conclusion that this country has deeply embedded itself within elitism: "Our research shows it is entirely possible for politicians to rely on advisers to advise, civil servants to devise policy solutions and journalists to report on their actions having all studied the same courses at the same universities, having read the same books, heard the same lectures and even been taught by the same tutors."

When analyzing the results from business corporations the findings were slightly different. This is due to nearly half of the chief executives of FTSE 350 companies were educated abroad. Yet, if those who underwent foreign education were excluded from results the report shows that 41% of the executives did have a private education.

As a result of these recent findings, many have voiced concern regarding social and upward mobility in the UK. Lee Elliot Major, who is the director of policy at the Sutton Trust social mobility charity, vocalized his concerns that Britain's top professions "remain the preserve of the privileged few." He believes that considerably more work and effort needs to be concentrated on addressing this problem. Work is currently underway to increase the accessibility for young people to these top universities. However, he believes that it is clearly not enough and more should be done at government level to ensure change is brought about.

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