Charlotte Street Partners



Perceptions, politics, privilege

Written by Laura Sweeting, researcher
Edited by David Gaffney, associate partner
24 June 2021

Good morning,

The narrative that white working class children have been failed by the English education system is not new.  White children on free school meals continue to be the lowest performing group across the UK. They are the least likely to pass maths and English at GCSE level, or attend university. 

Yesterday, Westminster’s education select committee published a report titled ‘The forgotten: how White working-class pupils have been let down, and how to change it’.

Notably, the report references divisive conversations about race as an issue and a cause of disparity for white working class children, suggesting that the use of “politically controversial terminology” such as ‘white privilege’ may have contributed to the systemic neglect of white working class children in schools, before concluding that “poor white pupils are far from ‘privileged’ in education”. 

Unsurprisingly, the dismantling of the term ‘white privilege’ in this context has provoked a backlash, with various politicians and commentators pointing out that white privilege does not describe the absence of any or all hardship, but rather acknowledges that skin colour is neither its source, nor a compounding factor. 

Victoria Richards at The Independent argues that the report has mistakenly attempted to conflate two issues without acknowledging that “privilege begins at presentation alone”. 

Others, including the politicians David Lammy and Lisa Nandy, have highlighted the deficiencies of a report that fails to mention cuts to free school meals, reduced funding to youth services, and the cancelling of initiatives such as Aimhigher and Sure Start as potentially significant factors in a decade of stagnant social mobility and poverty.

The challenges faced by white working class children in the English education system will not be solved by adding fuel to cultural fires or by wishing away what some consider to be ‘woke’ terminology from schools. What’s needed is an honest examination of systemic social issues and an education system which continues to fail those at the bottom of the pile.   


According to documents seen by the Financial Times, the scandal-hit finance company Greensill Capital sent all eight of its emergency Covid taxpayer loans to companies linked to Sanjeev Gupta. Greensill’s close ties to Gupta have come under intense scrutiny following the lobbying scandal in March. (£)

Leaked emails suggest that former adviser to the prime minister Dominic Cummings tried to bypass the formal awarding process by fast-tracking a government grant at the beginning of the pandemic. The government has said that due diligence was followed in awarding the grant.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed a delay to the easing of Covid restrictions in her latest public briefing yesterday. Protection levels will remain largely unchanged on Monday, with Sturgeon hopeful that all parts of Scotland can move to level 0 on 19 July – meaning that the general indoor physical distancing requirement can be reduced from two metres to one metre – and any major remaining legal restrictions could be lifted on 9 August.
Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel Four has warned of the “irreversible” risk of privatisation, as the government apparently prepares to launch a consultation into the privatisation of the channel, which is funded by advertising but publicly-owned. Mahon has stressed that Channel Four is not profit driven but rather invests money back into the British production sector.

Business and economy

In response to the continued effects of the pandemic, the government has announced that it will not pursue unpaid taxes from UK companies in an attempt to avoid unnecessary insolvencies. The announcement follows warnings from restructuring experts, who predict that many companies would struggle to stay afloat over the coming months. (£)
The value of Bitcoin has dropped below $30,000 for the first time since January. Bitcoin’s value fell by more than seven per cent and losses of nearly 30% in the past week have almost wiped out gains for the year to date. The sudden decrease in value was prompted by China’s central bank urging companies to tighten trading on cryptocurrencies.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has secured “landmark” commitments on leaseholds from the financial services giant Aviva and housebuilder Persimmon Homes as part of the UK competition watchdog’s investigation into unwarranted practices in the sector. The CMA launched enforcement against several developers last September and issued a wider warning to the sector to review their practices.

Columns of note

Georgie Monbiot discusses Britain’s housing crisis in The Guardian, suggesting it is not a lack of supply but rather that “greed has displaced need”. Monbiot questions the extent to which second homes have contributed to the housing crisis and what can be done to promote this issue higher up the political agenda.
Also in The Guardian, Sumanta Roy responds to the end-to-end rape review that was published last week, arguing that it ignores the experiences of black and minority ethnic survivors. Roy argues that the review must be more expansive, acknowledging different experiences and the barriers to support networks for black and minority ethnic survivors.

Cartoon source: The New Yorker


What happened yesterday?

Despite continued concerns about inflation, the London Stocks closed higher on Tuesday. FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.39% at 7,090.01. FTSE 250 was up 0.99% at 22,679.64.
Sterling fell 0.04% against the euro, trading at €1.681. Sterling traded up 0.17% against the dollar at $1.3946. BNP Paribas has predicted the euro will enter a ‘bear trend’ against the dollar in the second half of the year.
Equity and bond markets were flat in the US on Tuesday, as investors hit pause ahead of possible further guidance from Jay Powell, Federal Reserve chair, on stricter monetary policy by the US central bank.
In company news:
Private equity firm Blackstone has acquired Home Partners of America for $6bn. The purchase adds more than 17,000 homes across America to Blackstone’s portfolio. Blackstone’s purchase indicates the housing boom in America will continue as people search for larger homes following the pandemic.
Russian gold miner, Nordgold, has changed it plans to list in London following the announcement two weeks ago. The shift in plans can be attributed to a six per cent drop in gold prices since January.

What’s happening today?

Berkeley Group
Asset Management
Manolete Partn.

Trading Announcements
Joules Grp

1Spatial Holdings
1Spatial Holdings
Angling Direct
Braime Ord
Braime Holdings
Directa Plus
Ecsc Group
Harbour Energy
Jkx Oil & Gas
North Atl.smlr
Pebble Beach
Touchstar Plc
Vertu Motors

Int. economic announcements
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:30) Current Account (US)
(15:00) New Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

n 1960, the RAF parachuted cats into Borneo to deal with a plague of rats.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions  

Prime Minister’s Question Time  

Urgent question  
Liz Kendall  
Mr Tobias Ellwood  

Armed Forces Bill: consideration in committee 

English wine week  

House of Lords 

Oral questions  

Results of the events research programme  

Environmental bill (committee stage) day 2  

Grand Committee  
Dormant assets bill (committee stage) day 2  

Scottish parliament 

Parliamentary bureau motions  

Portfolio questions  

Ministerial Statement 
Tackling Child Poverty Progress Report 

Stage 2 Proceedings (Committee of the Whole Parliament) 
Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill 

Members’ Business 
Alasdair Allan: National Gaelic Language Plan 2023-28 

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