Keir Starmer would make 'national wellbeing' as high a priority as growth

Labour leadership contender Keir Starmer would make “national wellbeing” just as high a priority as economic growth.

The shadow Brexit secretary said that under his leadership, the next Labour government would develop a set of “wellbeing indicators” to sit alongside traditional economic measures such as GDP.

They would cover areas such as health, inequality, homelessness and the environment, with the aim of ensuring government policies prioritise people’s quality of life and not just economic performance.

Starmer said: “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.”

The plan aims to build on the example of countries such as New Zealand which last year published what was said to be the world’s first “wellbeing budget”.

Keir Starmer says that well-being is just as important as economic growth

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics has been collecting data on personal wellbeing since 2011 after David Cameron launched his so-called “happiness index”.

Starmer, who is due to visit Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on Thursday, said: “The idea that economic growth alone will solve society’s ills and make us all prosper is wrong and outdated.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.”

Meanwhile,in comments likely to upset her union backers Rebecca Long-Bailey said she was against a third runway at Heathrow because of its environmental impact.

The party’s election manifesto said any expansion of airports must pass tests on air quality and noise pollution.

“Any expansion needs to meet those tests, and Heathrow certainly didn’t,” Ms Long-Bailey said.

“There was actually a report brought brought out by scientists a couple of weeks ago… that restated how the Heathrow plans were completely contradictory to meeting any of our emissions targets going forward.”

Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey are the frontrunners

Meanwhile leadership hopeful Emily Thornberry, who is yet to make it onto the final ballot, has said she is facing an “old-fashioned squeeze” from the campaigns of frontrunners Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

In an interview with BBC News, she acknowledged she was struggling in what she described as a battle between the two “slightly monolithic” campaigns of Ms Long-Bailey on the left and Keir Starmer on the centre-right.

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“Unfortunately the Labour Party can very easily fall into the good old way of fighting things and (in) the Labour Party it’s left versus right,” she said.

“And so, to a certain extent, it’s a good old-fashioned squeeze between these two big campaigns with all the data and everything else, and it’s quite difficult in the middle of that.

“But what I want to do is to break this and to get on to the ticket and then for people to actually see the calibre of the candidates.”


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