Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Government 'to measure happiness'

An attempt to officially measure the UK's happiness is to be launched by the Government, it has been reported

An attempt to officially measure the UK's happiness is reportedly set to be launched by the Government.

In Opposition, David Cameron called for "general wellbeing" to be assessed alongside traditional economic indicators as there was "more to life than money".

And later this month he will ask the Office for National Statistics to devise new questions for the regular household survey, the Guardian said.

The assessment could start as soon as next spring with the results published regularly - possibly on a quarterly basis, it suggested.

Such a move has been pushed by two Nobel Prize-winning economists and is being considered by other countries, including France and Canada.

But the move was said to have been causing anxiety in Downing Street at a time when deep public spending cuts are beginning to bite.

Months after becoming Tory leader in 2005, Mr Cameron said gauging people's wellbeing was among the "central political issues of our time".

"It's time we admitted that there's more to life than money, and it's time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB - general wellbeing," Mr Cameron said at the time.

Almost 30 MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for the move, arguing that promoting happiness and well-being is a legitimate and important goal of government".

Other surveys showed the UK's happiness had remained broadly static for at least 25 years, it says, arguing that the data should be used to inform policy.

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