Almost seven in ten members of the public (69%) believe that parents' income plays too large a part in the life chances of children in Great Britain, while over three in ten say that opportunities for social mobility in this country are "too low". Moreover, the majority of those who express a view believe that opportunities for mobility are lower here than in other advanced countries.
These are among the findings of new research into public perceptions of social mobility opportunities in Britain, commissioned by the Sutton Trust. The research found little self-reported evidence of inter-generational mobility amongst those interviewed. The majority have experienced relative intergenerational class stability, with only 22% overall reporting upwards relative inter-generational class mobility. Only one in ten adults who reported growing up in the poorest 25% of households now believe themselves to occupy the richest 25% of households.
When it comes to taking action, though, only half of respondents (52%) agree that it is the responsibility of the Government to reduce the differences in income between people with high incomes and those with low incomes, although the likelihood that respondents will agree with this increases as their social class lowers.
The survey was conducted between 15 and 20 June 2008, via the Ipsos MORI Public Affairs Monitor, and consists of 2,060 face-to-face, in-home interviews with British adults age 16 and over. Data are weighted to the profile of the population.