Wellbeing rather than growth should be focus of government policy

An illustration of a person's head with a heart to illustrate their wellbeingPersonal wellbeing rather than economic growth should be the primary aim of government spending, according to a new report from the from the all-party parliamentary group on wellbeing economics which urges a complete change in thinking from ministers,.Gus O’Donnell, who served as cabinet secretary, said Britain could lead the world by making the issue the primary goal of government policy.

  • The report claims that that there are many neglected areas that are vital for wellbeing, and where big changes can be relatively inexpensive and, indeed, generate major savings. Recommendations from the report include:
  • Spending on mental health should increase twice as fast as spending on physical health. There should be a separate budget for mental health to ensure that people who suffer from mental illness are as likely to get treatment as people who are physically ill.
  • The wellbeing of children should be an explicit goal of every school. Schools should be enabled to measure the wellbeing of their children, and expected to dedicate at least one hour a week to the teaching of life skills by properly trained teachers.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Employers should be helped to measure the wellbeing of their workers and to retrain workers whose skills become redundant[/perfectpullquote]

  • Young people wanting vocational training should have the same guarantee of a place as those wanting to go to university.
  • Social care of the young, the disabled and the elderly should be restored to at least its 2010 level before the spending cuts in the government’s austerity programme. Children’s centres, youth centres and old people’s centres are a crucial part of a flourishing community.
  • Employers should be helped to measure the wellbeing of their workers and to retrain workers whose skills become redundant through technological change.
  • The gross cost of these proposals in the fifth year is no more than £10 billion. They should be at the centre of a Spending Review.

Lord Gus O’Donnell said: ‘Britain led the world in measuring wellbeing. It should lead the world again is making wellbeing the goal of government policy’.