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I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed
With more of my share of happiness.” (Ken Dodd song (1964))
In November 2010 David Cameron, as part of the £2 million well-being programme, ordered that the Office for National Statistics add four questions to the Integrated Household Survey completed by 200,000 people. The first was “How satisfied are you with your life nowadays” and continued in a similar vein. The aim was to challenge GDP as the sole indicator of a nation’s health.
The first set of results published in December 2011 said that 76% of adults in Great Britain rated their life satisfactory; married people were happier than single or divorced citizens.
These results are now contradicted by a survey by the Centre for the Modern Family (CMF), a Scottish Widows think tank, which, this week, published the following findings:
- Only 7% of people are finding family life comfortable
- Around 80% of the population feel life is tougher than it was a decade ago
- The younger people are struggling the most with those aged between 18 – 34 twice as likely to have borrowed using a payday loan
- One in five young people are unable to pay household bills.
The Chairman of the CMF, Lord Leitch, said that “life has changed considerably in the past ten years and families are making real sacrifices just to get by.”
The perhaps controversial Intergenerational Foundation which has a ‘Fairness Index’ suggests that younger people are losing out to older generations. Its measure of unfairness has risen from 84 in 1990 to 128 by 2010. It suggests that there should be tax breaks to encourage downsizing to free up some of the estimated 25 million unused bedrooms in England (over half of over-65s are in homes with two or more spare bedrooms).
The suicide rates per 100,000 of population have hardly changed from 2006 – 2010: 17.4, 16.8, 17.7, 17.5 and 17.0.
Perhaps David Cameron was on the right lines with his concept of ‘Big Society’: certainly the Chinese think so:
If you want happiness for an hour – take a nap
If you want happiness for a day – go fishing
If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune
If you want happiness for a lifetime – help some else. (Chinese proverb)
Come back Steve Hilton: the Happiness Index needs a push
By Tony Drury
- Freedom in the City on 22nd May with JP Floru on May 22, 2013 12:30 pm
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
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