Day: 6 February 2016

We aren’t giving young people in Shropshire the best chance in life, according to new data published by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. We are about to launch a resilient communities project in Ludlow to tackle this. Let’s have a look at the data first. The commission’s social mobility index looks at the chances people have of doing well in life dependant on where they live. It is no surprise that children in Westminster have the greatest social mobility, though many unfamiliar with West Somerset might not guess it is the least socially mobile district in England. If I had been asked to guess where we perform as a county, I would have said “middling, about midway”. The Social Mobility Index puts Shropshire just below midway in social mobility, 185th among 324 local authority districts. This headline score disguises our rather poor position on social mobility of youth.

Shropshire Council is being rather quiet about National Libraries Day. It issued a low profile press release two weeks ago and there are just four events running. It is perhaps not surprising that the council seems to be keeping its head below the parapet. Shropshire Council is predicting that library budgets will be reduced by a million pounds, with a one third cut from April 2017. Hours at the six largest hub libraries will be reduced and they may be run by new providers (the hub libraries are about to be reviewed). Some of the sixteen smaller libraries are at risk of closure. It is unlikely that the mobile libraries service will survive. The workforce is to be “redesigned” – a cruel phrase probably means redundancy.

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