May 9, 2024

State of the nation revealed in new official figures

by Carnegie UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today (9 May) updated their UK Measures of National Well-being Dashboard, a collection of statistics that measures quality of life in the UK.

The figures show:

  • About one in five (21.8%) of people in Great Britain found it difficult to get by get by financially when asked in March 2024.
  • Just one in five people (22.2%) say they trust the UK Government while seven in ten (68.6%) say they do not have any say in what the government does.
  • Only 4 in 10 adults (43.3%) in Great Britain tend to be satisfied with the healthcare system in the UK.
  • Half of adults (50.0%) in Great Britain agree or strongly agree that they felt like they belong to their neighbourhood.
  • Seven in ten (69.5%) adults in Great Britain are fairly or very satisfied with their main job.
  • Around 8 in 10 adults (83.0%) in Great Britain said they have made at least some changes to their lifestyle to help tackle environmental issues.

Carnegie UK, a foundation that works on wellbeing policy, says that statistics like these should inform government priorities.

The update comes ahead of new GDP statistics, due on Friday, which are expected to show the UK narrowly avoided a recession. The statistics also follow a landmark speech by the shadow chancellor critiquing the quality of UK economic recovery and promising to draw on “new economic thinking”.

Sarah Davidson, chief executive at Carnegie UK, said: “These statistics reveal the challenge facing the winner of the next general election in much more detail than simple GDP figures. They reveal low levels of trust in our political system; ongoing stress on households caused by rising costs; strain on our NHS and a large share of people who don’t feel like they belong in their community.

“While it is crucial that the UK economy thrives, we shouldn’t pretend avoiding a recession solves all our problems. While the Shadow Chancellor is right that the economy is more than lines on a graph, politicians can work harder to measure what matters to inform their priorities.

The ONS have recently updated how they collect and present wellbeing data.

Sarah Davidson said: “The ONS deserves credit for taking action to improve how wellbeing statistics are presented. However raising the profile of these measures and using them to inform policy making needs a long-term commitment from the UK Government.”

Notes to editors

  • Carnegie UK’s purpose is better wellbeing for people in the UK and Ireland. We are a charitable foundation set up over 100 years ago, based in Dunfermline and established with an endowment from Andrew Carnegie.
  • Check out the ONS wellbeing dashboard here and the associated statistical bulletin Note: sample size and period that the data was collected varies between statistics.
  • Earlier this week, Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves delivered a speech in relation to the condition of the economy. During the speech she said: “…we won’t have turned a corner until working people feel they are better off. Because the state of the economy is about much more than lines on a graph. It’s about the state of our high streets, the security of work, and the money in people’s pockets.”
  • Carnegie UK produces the largest independent study of the UK’s collective wellbeing. Read more about it here.