Monday, 25 February 2013

Five Ways ‘Divided Britain’ Affects You.

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We know that Britain is socially divided with one of the most segregated school systems in the rich world.

But why should this matter to you? Here’s 5 reasons why it affects you.

1. You want a fairer country.
When people don’t understand each other, it’s very hard for politicians to propose a fair way forward.

How do you propose fair benefit and tax changes if the rich don’t understand the poor and the old don’t understand the young. If everyone only sees their own point of view, a fair compromise becomes almost impossible.

2. You want a stronger economy.
A strong economy needs skilled workers who understand their customers and are employed in the right jobs. A socially divided country struggles here. Firstly; it struggles to raise the skill levels of low aspiration children as it fails to provide them with high aspiration friends to children with low aspirations – one of the best ways to make sure everyone assumes they can become skilled.
Secondly, it is one where future workers struggle to understand their customers unless they are just like them. Thirdly, it struggles to ensure the right people hear about job vacancies. When most jobs are passed by word of mouth, in socially divided countries that word of mouth can’t reach across lines of division.

3. You want a happier country: 

Where relationships in the local community are strong, people are happier. They report higher levels of well-being and lower levels of fear. Where communities are divided, the opposite follows.

4.  You want a well governed country.
In a socially divided country, people in power rarely have friends who are different from them. This makes
It harder to understand the people they govern. Leaders who don’t understand what it’s like to live on the bread line or start up a business find it hard to make the right decisions.

5. You want a strong, safer society.
In a socially divided country people trust each other less. (That’s why the UK has the lowest trust levels in Europe for under 55s). Where trust levels are low, small community problems can spiral out of control leading easily to violence, rising fear of crime and the potential for rioting.

That’s why The Challenge Network was set up to bring local people together.  

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