The PSI Blog

Viewpoint: two sides of national well-being
Michael White

This week's news has been dominated by Olympic sporting 'triumphs' for Team GB and surely the mood of national confidence and happiness has soared as a result.

But in the same week a Panorama programme has pointed to rising levels of infestation by rats, cockroaches and other noxious vermin in localities where councils have cut or disbanded the environmental services provided, or charge for these services at a level that many low-income families cannot afford. And in the same week, the scandal concerning abuse of vulnerable adults in care homes has resurfaced, with accusations of institutional failure to maintain standards.

Spending on cultural excellence - whether in sports or in the arts - is an investment which it would be difficult to top from the viewpoint of national well-being. But how can it be justified if at the same time we claim that we cannot afford to maintain the basic standards of amenity and care that are essential for the well-being of the less well-off in our society?

Michael White
is emeritus fellow at PSI.

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