Measures of the UK’s quality of life should replace the publication of purely economic indicators, campaigners and politicians have urged, as polling has found a considerable majority of the general public want ministers to specialise in improving health and wellbeing over economic process .
The UK’s latest GDP figures are going to be published in the week , covering the amount from January to the top of March, and that they are expected to point out a dramatic fall, because the first quarterly estimate to reflect the initial impact of the coronavirus and lockdown measures.
A YouGov poll has found eight out of 10 people would like the govt to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic process during the coronavirus crisis, and 6 in 10 would still want the govt to pursue health and wellbeing before growth after the pandemic has subsided, though nearly a 3rd would prioritise the economy instead at that time .
The finding comes as many people face economic hardship due to coronavirus and therefore the lockdown, while some measures of the standard of life – like pollution and therefore the natural environment – are showing signs of improvement.
Positive Money, the campaigning group that commissioned the research, said the poll showed that the govt should publish statistics on social indicators, health, the environment and quality of life to offer a truer picture of the UK’s status and help policymakers better target what the general public wants.
“It’s clear the overwhelming majority of the general public think we should always worry more about people’s health and wellbeing than economic process ,” said Fran Boait, the chief director of Positive Money. “The government must not be tempted to pursue policies that might boost GDP at the expense of lives, wellbeing and therefore the environment.”
In a report entitled The Tragedy of Growth, backed by politicians from several parties, including Clive Lewis of Labour, the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and therefore the former Conservative environment minister Lord Deben, who chairs the committee on global climate change , campaigners involve a shift faraway from GDP because the government’s core measure of success.
The focus on GDP means economic process can happen at the expense of the environment, and people’s quality of life, with none of the resulting damages ever being taken under consideration , the report argues. That successively encourages ministers and officials to hunt ways of raising the GDP figures, albeit rising nominal growth is amid environmental degradation, worsening health, poor educational attainment and increasing poverty.
Leading economists have involved governments to seem beyond GDP, and a few countries have begun to publish a broader suite of wellbeing indicators as a result.
The report involves the Office of National Statistics, which collates the UK’s quarterly GDP statistics, to publish instead a “dashboard” of wellbeing indicators, which the Treasury would then be required to focus on for improvement.
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