If it makes you happy…

Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Aveek Bhattacharya

May 11, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at what role does subjective wellbeing play in Levelling Up.

This briefing from Social Market Foundation think tank examines the role of “subjective wellbeing” in the levelling up agenda. In the Queen’s Speech 2022, Government has confirmed that it will make a legal commitment to monitoring its 12 levelling up ‘missions’, including one to reduce disparities in wellbeing across the UK. This paper considers how subjective wellbeing fits with the rest of the levelling up strategy, especially in relation to places that are prosperous, healthy and well educated, but nevertheless have low wellbeing. As the paper points out, affluent London Boroughs like Islington and Camden are among the lowest council areas in the UK for wellbeing. With the Government’s focus apparently on northern and provincial parts of the country, Aveek Bhattacharya suggests it needs to better understand why these places fare so poorly if it is to achieve its goal of ‘psychological’ as well as ‘economic’ levelling up. We call for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should investigate the drivers of differences in subjective wellbeing between different areas, and develop a more targeted plan for closing disparities.