Another big Cameron idea has been unveiled. Yes, the government wants to know how happy we all are. And they say that the impact on our happiness of future policies will be assessed before they are implemented.
Respondents to the Integrated Household survey have been asked “”how satisfied are you with your life nowadays, how happy did you feel yesterday, how anxious did you feel yesterday and to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?”
These questions are ranked on a 1 to 10 basis and when statisticians have 200,000 responses they will go away and analyse the answers, publishing their results next July. Well, that should make them happy anyway.
According to Jill Mathieson, Head of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), extensive consultation has been carried out. And after 10 months, she said that the ONS had “highlighted that the things that matter the most are our health, relationships, work and the environment.”
It took them ten months to find that out?
Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary, said he would be publishing a discussion paper on how to revise the civil service “green book”, which issues guidance to mandarins on how ministerial proposals should be appraised, to add a “social cost/ benefit analysis”.
He also said he had been surprised by research showing the beneficial effect of “altruism” on people giving their time to volunteer and was looking at releasing civil servants to help in charities on a pro bono basis.
That would be the charities that are facing spending cuts, with many reducing services or being closed down entirely? All of which has made many people unhappy, Mr O’Donnell.
In another case of stating the obvious, Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at the University of Warwick, said recent research from Californian academics had confirmed that when people found out they were being paid “below average” for their work, they “instantly registered a lower job satisfaction and look for jobs elsewhere.”
Is anyone surprised by that revelation?
So how happy do the government’s current policies make you? And what new policies should they bring in to improve your quality of life?