News story

Britain’s wellbeing to be measured

Prime Minister David Cameron has asked for the nation's wellbeing to be measured for the government from next April

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The announcement follows the June Budget which acknowledged the limitations of GDP in measuring quality of  life.

Mr Cameron has asked the National Statistician, Jil Matheson, to lead work on developing subjective measures for the first time.

In a speech this morning, the PM stressed that prosperity alone cannot deliver happiness and that the coalition must promote quality of life as well as economic growth.

From April next year we will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life.

We’ll continue to measure GDP as we’ve always done, but it is high time we admitted that, taken on its own, GDP is an incomplete way of measuring a country’s progress.

The information gathered would give a “general picture of how life is improving” and help the country re-evaluate its priorities in life.

Mr Cameron said his goal in politics is to “make a better life for people” and insist that the Government can help improve wellbeing.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will lead a debate called the National Wellbeing Project which will seek to establish the key areas that matter most to people’s wellbeing.

Potential indicators include health, levels of education, inequalities in income and the environment.

Read more: PM’s speech on wellbeing

Updates to this page

Published 25 November 2010