Inequality will remain entrenched in the UK “from birth to work” unless the government takes urgent action, the Social Mobility Commission has warned.
Its State of the Nation report said the situation had remained “virtually stagnant” since 2014.
It is calling on ministers to provide additional funding for older teenagers in education and to extend free childcare to more low income families.
The government said it would take the recommendations seriously.
The findings will come as a setback to Theresa May who promised to tackle the “burning injustice” of social inequality when she entered Downing Street in 2016.
However, the following year, all of the commissioners on the Social Mobility Commission – set up in 2010 to monitor and promote social mobility – resigned, saying the government was too focused on Brexit to deal with creating a fairer Britain.
Law graduate Paris McKenzie, 25, wants to be a solicitor but said there are not enough training contracts in her home city of Nottingham.
“I have barely come across any, and I constantly search for them. There are lots in London,” she said.
But the single mother said she did not “have the means” to move to the capital, where she said she would not have support and would struggle to pick up her son from nursery herself.
“It’s a catch 22, my opportunities are very limited,” she added.
Dame Martina Milburn, who has since been appointed as the new chairwoman, said she sensed there was now “a real commitment” from the government.
However, she said the biggest concern was not stagnation, but that the problem might actually get worse.
“There’s still a big shift – if you want to be socially mobile – towards London,” she told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.
“I think you’re three times more likely to move to London if you’re from a professional background than if you’re from a working class background.” Read more