Feltham and Heston MP Seema Malhotra has thrown her support behind a manifesto seeking to place the wellbeing of people at the heart of the UK’s policy agenda.

Malhotra signed the Como Wellbeing Manifesto on Wednesday, which calls on policymakers, businesses, schools, and individuals to reappraise the ultimate goal for society ‘beyond GDP’ to a measure of people’s wellbeing: their enjoyment of life, their sense of satisfaction and of fulfilment.

The manifesto was first launched by long-time economist and Labour peer Professor Lord Richard Layard at the World Happiness Summit earlier in 2023.

Other signatories of the manifesto so far include Karen Guggenheim, founder and CEO of WOHASU, organisers of the World Happiness Summit; Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman; and multiple senior executives from member organisations of the World Wellbeing Movement.

The challenges set out by the manifesto are informed by Lord Layard’s long-standing research career in the established field of wellbeing science, and are supported by not-for-profit social impact organisation the World Wellbeing Movement, whose mission is to put wellbeing at the heart of decision-making in both business and public policy.

Seema Malhotra, the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston, said:

“I’m delighted to support the Como Wellbeing Manifesto, which calls for wellbeing – how we feel about our lives – to be the ultimate goal of Government. I agree with Lord Richard Layard that there can be no more inspiring purpose for our lives.”

“I would encourage everyone in Hounslow who agrees with these goals to join me in signing the Como Wellbeing Manifesto.”

Lord Layard, co-founder of the World Wellbeing Movement and also an editor of the World Happiness Report, said:

“There is no measure more important than how we feel about our lives. Plenty more can and should be taken into account – our health, our work, the economy – but they all matter because of how they make us feel.

“This idea can be traced back to the philosophers of the Enlightenment, such as Jeremy Bentham, who stated that happiness should be the ultimate meaning and purpose in life.

“We hope that by issuing this challenge to the Government, businesses and schools, that we can build a happier world. Let’s put wellbeing first: there could be no more inspiring purpose for our lives.”

The UK’s Office for National Statistics has published data on measures of wellbeing since 2011, while countries such as New Zealand and Iceland lead the way on the global stage by embedding some wellbeing measures into policy creation and implementation.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledged in 2021 to set a national goal for wellbeing ‘to make health as important as GDP’ if elected to Government. He said:

“With every pound spent on your behalf we would expect the Treasury to weigh not just its effect on national income but also, its effect on wellbeing.”

HM Treasury published Green Book guidance under Conservative leadership in 2021 to help policymakers and analysts understand how wellbeing science can be robustly integrated into Government policies.

Individuals are also encouraged to sign the Como Wellbeing Manifesto.

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