Worcester is towards the bottom of all English local authority rankings for social mobility, at 277 out of 324 areas.

But when it comes to opportunities for urging disadvantaged people to move upwards, it is much worse than even that poor ranking.

The city is the fifteenth worst ‘cold spot’ on youth social mobility in a report drawn up by the government’s Social Mobility Commission.

That’s the worst in the West Midlands, with nearby Cheltenham one point worse, and Cotswolds really performing badly as the second ‘coldest‘ spot in this year’s rankings.

But there are disagreements at the head of the city’s local authorities about why things are so bad for poor young people in the city, and what can be done about it.

For the Labour leader of Worcester City Council, Councillor Adrian Gregson much of the blame lies at the door of the government’s austerity policies.

He said: “There are many reasons why this is the case and we know there are areas of disparity across the city.

“But one of the major factors is austerity. The County Council’s children’s services is essentially in ‘special measures’ and youth services have also been cut because of cuts to the budget by central government.

“The severe cuts to those services have had a real effect.”

Cllr Gregson, who represents Rainbow Hill also pointed to difficulties with public transport, run by private companies and said: “Routes have been cut and that makes it harder for young people to access the education and training opportunities that might exist.

“We have to improve a co-ordinated transport strategy, health and youth provision.”

The deputy leader of the council, Conservative group leader Councillor Marc Bayliss took a different view as you might expect.

He said: “It’s too easy to say it’s down to austerity – I think that’s a cheap political point which doesn’t actually get us anywhere.

“In Wychavon, which is a more affluent and leafier area than here, it’s even worse.

“Youth unemployment is down by half under this government and unemployment levels are historically low. Research has shown the best way to get a better paid job is to be in work anyway – Universal Credit is incentivising people to get out of unemployment and into work.”

Cllr Bayliss, who represents Bedwardine, also pointed to the necessity of educational opportunities. He said: “Higher education is the great catalyst in social mobility- and we have the University of Worcester now but  we haven’t had that for a long time. I think we need to increase aspiration in young people for better education and better jobs.”

Worcestershire Councy Council's cabinet member with responsibility for Children and Families, Councillor Andy Roberts, said: "We are committed to improving outcomes for all children and young people in Worcestershire.

"Through our new Children and Young People's Plan we are working with our partners to achieve our vision for Worcestershire to be a place where children and young people can be safe, lead healthy lives, reach their full potential and make a positive contribution in their communities.

"As a council, we are always striving to improve services to all children in all areas and stages of their lives, particularly the most vulnerable.

"We want to make sure they receive high quality protection and support as and when they need it. Strengthening our community relationships and working closely with our partners is an essential part of this work."