Sir Keir Starmer says national wellbeing is just as important as economic growth

Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer has said promoting “national wellbeing” should be just as high a priority as delivering 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.

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”.

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”.

Sir Keir, 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on Thursday, said: “The idea that economic growth alone will solve society’s ills and make us all prosper is wrong and outdated.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.

“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.”