Newham Council prioritises wellbeing and happiness in Covid-19 recovery strategy inspired by New Zealand and Paris

PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 July 2020

The council has launched its Towards a Better Newham Covid-19 Recovery Strategy. Picture: Steve Poston

The council has launched its Towards a Better Newham Covid-19 Recovery Strategy. Picture: Steve Poston


Livelihood, wellbeing and happiness will be the prime measures of economic success as part of an ambitious Covid-19 recovery strategy unveiled by the Newham Council.

Newham Mayor Rohksana Fiaz says the Covid-19 pandemic has Newham Mayor Rohksana Fiaz says the Covid-19 pandemic has "laid bare the endemic inequality" in Newham and wider society. Picture: Ken Mears

Towards a Better Newham sets out how the council will respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The strategy represents a fundamental shift, placing people’s health and wellbeing and race equality central to the council’s aspirations of inclusive growth, quality jobs and fairness.

Newham was inspired by New Zealand, the first country in the world to replace gross domestic product as a key indicator of its economic success and instead focus on the wellbeing and happiness of its population as a principle measure of progress.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “We will be the first borough in London to adopt more appropriate measures of economic success.

“We are going to be prioritising the personal wellbeing, health and happiness of our residents, instead of the traditional measures of growth, prosperity and land value that has framed measures of economic productivity and success in this country, but which mask some of the enduring features of poverty and inequality Newham has.

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“Covid-19 has laid bare the endemic inequality that exists in our borough and wider society, and it has exposed the increased vulnerability of the most socially and economically deprived.”

The strategy will ensure everyone under 25 will be able to access various positive activities to support their long-term prosperity.

A new youth empowerment fund will help overcome barriers to economic participation.

The borough’s six town centres and 13 high streets will be the focus of investment and revival, so that they become centres of community and civic activity as well as commerce and business.

Inspired by Paris, the strategy will transform these into “15-minute neighbourhoods” to meet the council’s air quality and climate change commitments.

These ensure people can access all social, civic and economic essentials within a 15-minute walk or bike ride.

Ms Fiaz added: “The monumental impact that Covid-19 has wrought on our lives and ways of living requires a radical rethink and bold interventions to accelerate change in Newham for the better.”

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