Wellbeing in four policy areas

Report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Wellbeing Economics is made up of politicians from all major political parties.

It was set up to:

  • Provide a forum for discussion of wellbeing issues and public policy in Parliament;
  • promote enhancement of wellbeing as an important government goal;
  • encourage the adoption of wellbeing indicators as complimentary measures of progress to GDP;
  • and promote policies designed to enhance wellbeing.

The group’s officers are David Lammy MP (Chair), Baroness Claire Tyler (Vice-chair), Dr Julian Huppert MP (Vice-chair), Helen Goodman MP (Treasurer) and Caroline Lucas MP (Secretary). The New Economics Foundation (NEF) acts as secretariat for the group.

This report is the result of a year-long inquiry by the cross-party group of MPs exploring how wellbeing evidence can be translated into policy in four diverse areas: labour markets, planning and transport, mindfulness in health and education, and arts and culture. It calls for more focus on stable employment as opposed to economic growth, and stresses that in tough economic times it is all the more vital that we remain focussed on building a high wellbeing recovery.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Focus on stable jobs, not growth: More than half the UK workforce are worried about losing their jobs, with disastrous consequences for their wellbeing and productivity — sickness leave alone costs an estimated £100bn a year. Secure, stable employment should be the primary focus of economic policy.
  • More green spaces in our cities: Planning processes have lost sight of their original mission to improve community wellbeing. Restoring this would transform local areas, with considerable economic benefits — city liveability is a major consideration for big employers, while encouraging residents to take up walking or cycling could save the NHS £675m a year.
  • Mindfulness training for doctors and teachers: Mental health problems cost the UK economy an estimated £70bn annually. Training new medical and teaching staff in mindfulness techniques would embed a culture of wellbeing in health and education, and reduce a later burden on the NHS by improving the availability of mindfulness-based therapies.
  • Invest in arts and culture: Wellbeing evidence gives a robust means of measuring the value of non-market goods. Arts and culture play an important part in all our lives, and wellbeing data will help make the case for spending in these areas.



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