A LIB Dem government would appoint a Happiness Minister as part of a radical overhaul of how Britain’s economic success is measured, the party announced today.
Leader Jo Swinson said economic indicators such as GDP and unemployment figures were an incomplete way of measuring the country’s progress.
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She said people’s wellbeing should be included in the way we measure economic growth.
The four indicators of wellbeing would measure people’s satisfaction levels, how worthwhile they feel, their happiness and their anxiety.
Every government policy would have to be assessed on this wellbeing index too.
Aides said the party would appoint a Happiness Minister to oversee new focus on the nation’s wellbeing.
And they would set up a new Wellbeing Watchdog to deliver independent assessments of the Government’s annual Budget akin to the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Our wellbeing budget will spell out our priorities for public spending on the things that matter most – both right now and for future generations.
Ms Swinson put the announcement at the heart of her maiden speech to Lib Dem conference, in which she told her party she is aiming to be Prime Minister by Christmas.
She said: “Our wellbeing budget will spell out our priorities for public spending on the things that matter most – both right now and for future generations.
“And my wellbeing ambition extends well beyond government spending.
The whole of our society – including business – should work towards building the kind of country we want.
“People and our planet will thrive with the Liberal Democrats in power.”
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A Lib Dem spokesman said that the assessment of wellbeing would include: ‘Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays? Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile? Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday? Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?’
The spokesman said a Lib Dem government would set up a Happiness Unit to be part of the Treasury.
He added: “It wouldn’t be the sole arbiter of what we do but it would be part of the mix when we consider those things.”
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