Starmer vows to prioritise wellbeing and economic growth equally

Elliot Chappell

Keir Starmer is set to announce that a future Labour government led by him would prioritise wellbeing and economic growth equally.

During a visit to a hospital in Cambridge on Thursday, the Labour leadership candidate will call for the use of a set of national wellbeing indicators in addition to measures of economic growth.

Commenting ahead of the announcement, the current frontrunner in the leadership race said: “The idea that economic growth alone will solve society’s ills and make us all prosper is wrong and outdated.

“We need to create a healthy society where everyone can thrive, with government, employers and citizens all playing our part together.”

The contender to replace Jeremy Corbyn said that the indicators would cover health, inequality, homelessness and the environment to capture people’s quality of life.

Starmer added: “The UK is the sixth largest economy in the world. However, millions of people are suffering because of the deep inequalities that have become ingrained in our society.

“We can only begin to improve the nation’s wellbeing if we treat wellbeing equally to economic growth. That means ensuring national wellbeing and economic growth are prioritised equally.

“Prosperity and a sound economy go hand in hand. GDP alone does not measure the health of our children, the quality of the air we breathe or people’s quality of life.”

Other governments have proposed similar steps in an effort to improve the way in which they measure how well the economy is working for their citizens.

Nicola Sturgeon recently revealed that she would be “redefining” what it means to be a successful nation by focusing on wellbeing as well as GDP.

Bhutan introduced a gross national happiness index in 2008, measuring things such as psychological health, living standards, community vitality and environmental and cultural resilience to inform government policy making.

New Zealand became the first country in the world to design its entire budget around wellbeing priorities, with ministers instructed to outline policies to improve wellbeing, last year.

The office for national statistics currently produces a wellbeing release including statistics on health, relationships, education and skills, where people live, their personal finances and the environment.

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