For this week's reading test we are going to practice the multiple choice task. Read The Daily Mail article The death of saving: With pitiful interest rates, a third of us are not longer putting a penny aside and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence. 0 is an example.
Britain is no longer a nation of savers – with a third us not putting aside a single penny at the end of each month. A report into social mobility in the UK warns that families can no longer afford to put money aside for a rainy day or to save for a holiday or home. Some 31 per cent have nothing left to put in the bank when the month is over, while 4 per cent save less than £10. Overall, half of the population save £100 or less. Only 23 per cent save £200 or more.
The Social Mobility Commission, which will today launch its annual State of the Nation report, said Britain was now a country of ‘haves and have nots’. People have also been given less incentive to save by rock bottom interest rates in recent years.
In addition, banks and building societies have been accused of exploiting savers by slashing hundreds of savings rates since the Bank of England cut the official interest rate in August from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent. Some accounts have been chopped to zero, or to 0.01 per cent. Britons are currently saving only 5.1 per cent of their disposable income. This compares to 7.4 per cent only two years ago, according to official figures.
The Social Mobility Commission findings are also a damning criticism of successive governments – led by the Tony Blair regime – which have failed to improve social mobility. In 2004, the then Labour prime minister promised to make the spread of greater social mobility the cornerstone of his third term. Gordon Brown and David Cameron also promised to do more to improve the life chances of the less well-off. Yet, the public remains deeply pessimistic, despite hundreds of millions of pounds being spent and a number of high-profile initiatives being launched.
Nearly half of people – 45 per cent – believe that, in Britain today, where you end up in society is mainly determined by your background and who your parents were, according to a YouGov poll of 1,655 adults carried out for the commission. In contrast, only 29 per cent feel that Britain is a country where everyone has a fair chance to go as far as their talent and their hard work will take them. A majority of adults – 55 per cent – believe that children from privileged backgrounds are more likely to secure a place at university than those from less well-off backgrounds. Exactly half say they are also given more opportunities to get a foot in the workplace by securing work experience or unpaid internships.
Social mobility tsar Alan Milburn, a former Labour Cabinet minister, said: ‘Britain has a deep social mobility problem and the growing sense that we have become an “us and them” society – where a few unfairly have power and wealth – is deeply corrosive of our cohesion as a nation. ‘It is no surprise that populism of Right and of Left is on the march when a growing number of people feel like they are losing out unfairly.’
The study found the most sought-after professions have become even less representative than the most selective universities. Only 4 per cent of doctors, 6 per cent of barristers and 12 per cent of solicitors have working-class origins.
In July, Mrs May pledged in Downing Street: ‘If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise… The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.’
According to a report into social mobility
A. around 25% of the population can save at least £200.
B. families can’t go on holiday any more.
C. families spend all their money before the end of the month.
1 The Social Mobility Commission has said
A. the country is divided between those with economic means and those without.
B. people are being encouraged to save.
C. interest rates are getting higher.
A. are not saving at all.
B. are saving well over 5% of their income.
C. sometimes get no interest on their accounts.
3 The Social Mobility Commission has also concluded
A. people not having so much money improved their standard of living with David Cameron.
B. popular campaigns to improve the living conditions have failed.
C. Tony Blair’s governments fulfilled his promises.
4 In today’s Britain
A. half of the population believes talent is a key factor for a person’s future.
B. hard work has no use to improve in life.
C. the social position determines a person’s future.
5 The YouGov poll also found
A. only the rich manage to secure a place at university.
B. people from privileged backgrounds find work easily.
C. work experience will get you a better chance of getting a job.
6 In Alan Milburn’s opinion
A. British society is getting more and more extremist.
B. populist political parties are taking control.
C. power and wealth corrupt people.
7 The study also found
A. British universities are more democratic than it was thought.
B. selective universities are offering less popular degrees.
C. the social class divide is obvious in some professions.
1A 2C 3B 4C 5C 6A 7C