THE Cotswolds is one of the worst areas in England to grow up poor.

Social mobility looks at the opportunities of people born into disadvantaged backgrounds.

A government report published yesterday has ranked the district 268 for social mobility, out of 324 local authorities in England.

However, when looking at the opportunities for young people born into disadvantaged backgrounds, the Cotswolds was the second worst area in the country.

According to the State of the Nation report from the Social Mobility Commission, educational and career prospects for those from disadvantaged backgrounds are often limited from the outset and the chances of them getting on in life is closely linked to where they grow up and live.

It pointed out that the problem "for this generation of young people in particular, is getting worse not better".

The report explained that wealthy areas (such as the Cotswolds) can see high levels of low pay, with poorer young people at risk of being "somewhat neglected", particularly if they are scattered around isolated rural schools.

It said that there was “no direct correlation between the affluence of an area and its ability to sustain high levels of social mobility”.

The Gloucestershire and Wiltshire counties "all perform poorly", the report found.

However, in the South West, Stroud was the best performing district, ranking 43 out of 324.

Councillor Joe Harris, Liberal Democrat leader on Cotswold District Council, said: "Everyone who lives here should have the right to stay here without getting poorer for it, they should also have the opportunity to find education, employment and training so they can get on in life and play a full part in our community.

“This is a really concerning report and highlights that all organisations need to do much more in order to improve social mobility for people in the Cotswolds, especially young people.

“The district council should be taking a leading role in this and should be playing a greater role in economic development in the area.

"There are clear recommendations that the council can implement now such as ensuring all staff are paid the living wage, working with Gloucestershire County Council to develop a strategy to help disadvantaged children and young people and to take more of a role in improving public transport for people."

In response to Cllr Harris' comments, a spokesperson for CDC said: "The Local Plan for Cotswold District, which includes policies relating to future economic development, has now been examined in public and is moving towards adoption.

"The main responsibility for Economic Development, however, rests with the Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Council is a full member of the Partnership.

"Additionally, the council is working in partnership with the county council on ways to help disadvantaged children and young people in the Cotswolds.

"The following are examples of what has been achieved:

"Youth activity funding has recently supported young disabled people, young people in need of mental health support, and young carers.

"We are involved in the Early Help and Safeguarding Locality Partnership convened by the County Council in the Cotswolds.

"Working with the Voluntary Community Sector, we recently launched a Cotswold Youth Network to give better support to providers of young people’s services.

"We are actively working with our Leisure Centres to open up access to vulnerable young people."

He added: "Please also note that, through our partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, we are aiming to improve public transport within the resources available.

"All current Council employees are already paid at least the Real Living Wage of £8.75 per hour and we have received assurances from Publica (our newly formed services company) that they intend to register for accreditation as a Real Living Wage Employer very shortly, ensuring that they keep their commitment to pay the Real Living Wage."