Now, happiness index would measure Britons' mood

Written by: Nairita Das
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London, Nov 15 (ANI): The British government are reportedly planning to start measuring people's psychological and environmental Wellbeing, in an attempt to be among the first countries to officially monitor happiness.

Despite "nervousness" in Downing Street at the prospect of testing the national mood amid deep cuts and last week's riot in Westminster, the Office of National Statistics would shortly be asked to produce measures to implement Prime Minister David Cameron's long-stated ambition of gauging "general Wellbeing", the Guardian reports.

"If you want to know, should I live in Exeter rather than London? What will it do to my quality of life? You need a large enough sample size and if you have a big sample, and have more than one a year, then people can make proper analysis on what to do with their life. And next time we have a comprehensive spending review, let's not just guess what effect various policies will have on people's Wellbeing. Let's actually know," a Downing Street source said.

Besides, the UK, countries like France and Canada are also looking at similar initiatives, initiatives as governments around the world come under pressure to put less store on conventional economic measures of prosperity such as gross domestic product.

According to British officials, hesitation is still prevalent in some parts of Whitehall over going ahead with the programme during such difficult economic times, the paper said.

On November 25, the British government would reportedly ask the independent national statistician Jil Matheson to devise questions to add to the existing household survey by as early as next spring.

It will be up to Matheson to choose the questions but the government's aim is for respondents to be regularly polled on their subjective Wellbeing, which includes a gauge of happiness, and also a more objective sense of how well they are achieving their "life goals," the paper added.

A government source said that the results could be published quarterly in the same way as the British crime survey, but the exact intervals are yet to be agreed. (ANI)

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