The issues of class and social mobility are ones easily forgotten today. Politicians may have us believe we are living in a far more equal society than the one which existed 30 years ago, and we like to think generally that our country is one which is based on equal rights to opportunity; poverty is not something universally acknowledged as existing in 21st century Britain.

A study carried out by the Governments Social Mobility Commission published late last month took a highly critical stance on the current state of social mobility and equality within the UK. It highlights the fact that child poverty has risen in the aftermath of the recession, with about 30% of children now classified as poor. It also says it will be 120 years before disadvantaged adolescents are as likely as their better off counterparts to achieve equivalent qualifications.

“What is so striking about this new analysis is how divided we have become as a nation,” said Alan Milburn, chair of the commission, who continued: “a new geographical divide has opened up, a new income divide has opened up and a new generational divide has opened up. As the general election seems to demonstrate, the public mood is sour and whole tracts of Britain feel left behind. The growing sense that we have become an us-and-them society is deeply corrosive of our cohesion as a nation.”

These are not, for some of us, new facts. Writer Caitlin Moran has been vocal throughout her career as a writer and journalist about issues surrounding class and social mobility. I would argue the class divide is felt in no one group more profoundly than it is within working classes, and that’s because it is the working class who have to fight it. Equal opportunity is evidently in many cases an illusion, and that is not pure hypothesis, it’s demonstrated by the facts above. There is a reason only 2% of Oxbridge students come from a free school meals background, and I am loath to believe that’s because those people are inherently less intelligent.

A lack of social mobility is not a concern only for those at the bottom of the pile, it also carries risks for our society as a whole. Namely, as pointed out by the aforementioned social mobility commission, to community cohesion and economic prosperity. Aside from that fact, how can we live in a society which has such a blatant equalities problem, one which people are beginning to feel all the more, as demonstrated by the recent general election result? Prejudices about the abilities of those from working class backgrounds (that is from both within and without the group) must be tackled if people are able to progress. Without this progression, what can we expect for the future? It is a problem people do not like to admit still exists, and so it is not tackled head on, as it must be if significant change is to happen.