"Closed shop at the top" in elitist Britain, says research

Britain is “deeply elitist”, according to Government-commissioned analysis of the backgrounds of prominent public figures. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission looked at the upbringing of more than 4,000 figures from business, politics, the public sector and the media.

While only 7 per cent of the UK population as a whole attended private school, this section of society makes up 71 per cent of senior judges, 62 per cent of the senior armed forces and 54 per cent of the top media professionals, making the 36 per cent of the current “cabinet of millionaires” look quite tame.

Chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, and a former Labour cabinet minister, Alan Milburn said drastic action was needed to “break open Britain’s elite” and prevent institutions being dominated by those from a narrow range of schools and universities.

Indeed, as the report rightly points out, elitism leaves “leading institutions less informed, less representative and, ultimately, less credible than they should be”.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt said the report showed the coalition is failing on social mobility: “Under the Tories, the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and the rest is increasing”.