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Miliband calls for social mobility

Ed Miliband is to attack the coalition for allowing social mobility to go into reverse in Britain.

The Labour leader is to insist that more must be done to open the "closed circles" in many careers by improving access to university and vocational training.

"Tackling social mobility is a huge mountain to climb and the last Labour government took some important steps," Mr Miliband will tell a Sutton Trust conference in London.

"But now Britain is sliding backwards. This Government seems to think we can let those at the top take whatever rewards they think fit and somehow everyone else can just play catch up. You can't claim the mantle of social mobility and then make your priority, cutting taxes for millionaires while raising taxes for everyone else."

Mr Miliband will stress that allowing young people from poorer backgrounds to reach university is crucial to improving the situation.

"I know how much more there is to be done to open those closed circles of Britain. Not just to the universities, but to journalism, law, finance - and politics too," he is to say.

But he will also insist that there must be options for people who choose not to go to university.

"The debate has been too narrowly focused," Mr Miliband is to say. "We should reject the snobbery that assumes the only route to social mobility runs through university - as if there is only one pathway to success."

Mr Miliband is to say that a Labour government would include a requirement for companies bidding for major government contracts to offer apprenticeships.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will dismiss Mr Miliband's criticism in a speech to the same conference on Tuesday.

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