Keir Starmer pledges to ‘smash the class ceiling’

“There may have been times in the recent past where Labour was afraid to speak the language of class at all – but not my Labour Party."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to ‘smash the class ceiling’ which holds working people back.

Starmer wrote a piece in The Scotsman newspaper ahead of a visit to Rutherglen and Hamilton West, where a by-election is taking place, where he spoke of the importance of giving working people a voice.

The Labour leader wrote: “Can you look around your community today and say, with the certainty you deserve, that the future will be better for your children?

“Working people I speak with have their doubts – and that’s putting it mildly. From Kirkcaldy to Glasgow, Inverness to Rutherglen, they all tell me how little trust they have in politics to change things for them.

“And, if I’m totally frank, this extends to my Labour Party.

“Countless people tell me they support Labour values. Yet they remain unconvinced that we – or, for that matter, Britain itself – still offer the way forward for Scotland or their community.

“And it means striking a new deal that will strengthen workers’ rights and finally make work pay. No more zero hour contracts, no more fire and rehire, and a real living wage for everyone.

“That is how a Labour Government in Westminster can secure growth that works for Scotland.”

Class based discrimination remains a problem in workplaces. According to the Labour Force Survey, the largest survey of employment in the UK, people from working-class backgrounds who enter elite universities and professions still earn on average £6,400 less than peers drawn from the middle class. That’s a class pay gap of nearly 16%.

According to the Social Mobility Commission, even when those from working-class backgrounds have the same education attainment, role and experience as their more privileged colleagues, those from poorer backgrounds are still paid an average of £2,242 (7%) less. Only 10% of those from working-class backgrounds reach Britain’s higher managerial, professional or cultural occupations.

The Labour leader pledged to reconnect Labour with its working-class routes.

He added: “There may have been times in the recent past where Labour was afraid to speak the language of class at all – but not my Labour Party.

“No, for me, smashing the ‘class ceiling’ that holds working people back is our defining purpose.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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