It’s official: a majority of people want the government to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic growth – a YouGov poll we commissioned has revealed.
When asked whether the UK should prioritise economic growth or the health and wellbeing of citizens during the coronavirus crisis, more than 8 out of 10 people (82%) opted for health and wellbeing, while only 12% picked economic growth.
That preference remained dominant in our second question, which asked what people want the UK to prioritise after the pandemic is over. More than 6 in 10 people (61%) choose improved social and environmental outcomes, with less than a third (31%) picking more economic growth.
Our findings, which were covered in The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Independent and the Big Issue, also caused a storm online. The story grabbed more than 55,000 views on Reddit, and environmental activist and commentator George Monbiot even jumped in and tweeted about it!
The poll coincides with the publication of our new report: The Tragedy of Growth, which argues our obsession with GDP growth has both failed to alleviate poverty and led to vast environmental destruction.
In the wake of these failures, we’re calling on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to ditch publication of GDP figures (which they’re next set to do on Wednesday) in favour of a broad dashboard of social and wellbeing metrics. This would not only give the public a far better understanding of how the real economy is performing but enable politicians to devise different policies that better benefit people and the planet.
This proof of public sentiment towards wellbeing couldn’t come at a more important time. This week the government changed their language and policy around lockdown in what many have pointed out is the ultimate sacrifice of public health for private profit.
Now more than ever we need to come together and make our demand loud and clear – public health must come before private wealth.
If you agree, please help build momentum by sharing this blogpost or the video below with your friends and family today and, if you haven’t already, sign up to our mailing list to hear about the next steps we’re planning to push our demands even further!