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The Prime Minister’s audit of public services shows she is serious about social justice.

By James Scales

In her first statement as Prime Minister, Theresa May spoke about her desire to make the UK, “a country that works for everyone”. She addressed the uncomfortable truth that race and background still shape our life chances.

White working class boys are the least likely to go to University. Black men and women get treated more harshly in the criminal justice system. On average women earn less than men. Young people are finding it harder than ever to buy a home and those with a state school education are less likely to reach top professions.

Last week the Prime Minister took decisive action to tackle this with the launch of a public services' audit seeking to reveal racial disaprities and help end the injustices that many people experience. All government departments will be required to analyse how race and socioeconomic background affect people’s outcomes when using public services.

Once the audit is complete in 2017, members of the public will be able to check how background affects prospects. These measures will put pressure on Whitehall departments to prevent discrimination and increase equal opportunities.

Our vision is to help society’s most disadvantaged individuals reach their potential and our work to tackle the Five Pathways to Poverty seeks to provide solutions to the very injustices that have resulted in the Prime Minister's audit.

Education has enormous potential to transform lives and opportunities.

To help the next generation of children overcome disadvantage and fulfil their potential we want:

  • Better school readiness support
  • The Pupil Premium to reach those who need it most
  • More support from the best headteachers
  • Improved transitions between education and work

We anticipate this audit will be a driving force to affect positive change in regards to inequality and marks the start of a broader effort to build a society that works for all, not just the privileged few.

CSJ Report: Closing the Divide: Tackling education inequality in England

The Government should not balance the books on the back of the health of our poorest children.

By Dolly Theis

Earlier this year, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised a ‘game changing’ response to the catastrophically high childhood obesity rates. However the Government’s long-awaited and now disappointingly diluted childhood obesity plan only includes one demand of the food industry – a sugar tax on full sugar soft drinks.

The food industry has been let off the hook with all other requirements being voluntary or scrapped altogether such as improved education and strong controls on price promotions and advertising.

As well as health risks like type-2 diabetes, childhood obesity is linked to increased chances of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, divorce in later life, behaviour problems, poor academic performance, being bullied and school absenteeism.

The Government has said that through this obesity plan they are seeking to tackle childhood obesity while respecting ‘economic realities’ meaning economy first and health second.

However, obesity costs the country an estimated £27 billion per year with the direct cost to the NHS coming in at £5.1 billion per year. With obese children requiring more support and a greater chance of welfare dependency later in life this adds further pressure to the economy.

This plan is a missed opportunity to work towards improving our economy and the life chances of our poorest children who are three times more likely to be obese. In ruling out a robust obesity strategy, the Prime Minister has allowed the Government to balance the books against the health of our poorest children.

With even Sainsbury’s calling on the Government to go further, Theresa May should lead the fight against obesity and deliver on her promise on the steps of Number 10 to, “think not of the powerful, but you”.

Our labour market is strong. We must make sure it delivers for society’s most vulnerable.

By Amelia Abplanalp

Employment is at a record high according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. There are 624,000 more jobs than at this point last year, with the unemployment rate dropping from 5.6% to 4.9% in the same time.

This is welcome reassurance and the new Government must build on this robust foundation to ensure that the poorest have the opportunity to benefit from the rising tide of our economy.

The CSJ supported the introduction of the national living wage, and we encourage businesses to use this opportunity to train and upskill their workforces, raising economic productivity and elevating the life chances of millions.

The CSJ also backs the Government’s goal of halving the disability employment gap; a gap which if halved would save the economy up to £13 billion each year. We are working on a report providing practical solutions to halve this gap which will ensure a more inclusive workforce and boost our economy.

Work is the most effective route out of poverty. With foresight and commitment, the new Government can continue to set employment records, lift our poorest out of poverty and deliver prosperity for all.

CSJ Report: Tackling Low Pay