Happiness a key issue in politics

Improving happiness and well being should be at the centre of the political agenda, according to Jo Swinson.

Jo organised and took part in a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Bournemouth today, entitled Happiness: A New Political Challenge.

Jo is conducting ongoing research into what government policy can do to improve society’s happiness. She recently carried out a factfinding mission in Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire, which included investigating NHS Scotland’s groundbreaking approach to measuring mental health and well-being in society.

Commenting after the fringe event, she said:

“Traditionally, governments have prioritised economic growth above all else. However, despite big increases in gross domestic product since the mid-20th century, greater wealth has not translated into increases in people’s happiness. We are better off financially, but the trade-off is that we are working longer hours and spending less time with family.

“The Government can’t make people happy, but there are important things they can do, beginning with finding ways to effectively measure well-being. Once we do this in a regular, systematic way we will be able to point to the key policies that can improve our happiness. Ministers should be looking to introduce policies that make us happier, not just economically better-off. “

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