Covid-19: Public prioritises environment over GDP

Less than a third of UK citizens would like the government to prioritise economic growth over the environment when responding to the coronavirus pandemic, a YouGov survey has revealed.

The polling of more than 2,000 adults found six in 10 believe the UK should prioritise social and environmental outcomes. Just 31% favour economic growth, with 8% unsure. When asked to choose between GDP and health and wellbeing, 82% of respondents opted for the latter.

This comes amid fears that environmentally unfriendly policies could be favoured once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, with various political, financial and charitable groups calling for a green recovery. Campaigning group Positive Money, which commissioned the latest polling, urged the Office for National Statistics to stop publishing GDP stats and instead place more emphasis on environmental and social indicators.

“The government must not be tempted to pursue policies that would boost GDP at the expense of lives, wellbeing and the environment,” said Positive Money executive director Fran Boait. “With the coronavirus crisis hitting after a decade of anaemic economic growth, we are heading towards a ‘post-growth’ economy. 

“We have a choice of whether this will mean mass unemployment, deepening inequality and lower quality of life for all, or whether we want to ensure that people are able to live longer, happier lives while avoiding catastrophic climate collapse.”

Picture Credit | iStock
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