Delivering the inaugural Well-being of Future Generations Commissioner for Wales‘ Annual Lecture, The Big Issue founder and crossbench peer, John Bird, called for the approach to long-term thinking pioneered in Wales to be rolled out across the rest of the UK. As a prominent anti-poverty campaigner and keen supporter of the work of the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Lord Bird spoke about the importance of tackling today’s crises, as well as working to prevent tomorrow’s: “Looking ahead, I’ll be calling on parliamentarians from all parties to join forces in planning how, at a UK-wide level, we can learn from Sophie’s work and ensure that the golden thread of preventative thinking is woven into all levels of policy-making… What (the Wales office) is doing is gold dust: it’s equivalent, but even more astute, than the founding of the welfare state. I want our friends in England, Ireland, Scotland and across the world to benefit from the same revolutionary thinking. We need a Future Generations Act for the UK.”
FDSD wholeheartedly supports John Bird’s call to arms. Government decision making is often short term, failing to account for the impact on future generations. In policy areas such as climate change, social care, infrastructure and pensions, long-term considerations are often overlooked as short-term political dynamics take priority. The potential for a UK-wide Commissioner for Future Generations is a key theme of our work. An event last year brought together speakers with intimate knowledge of the work of Commissioners and Ombudsman around the world, to explore the opportunities and challenges to building on the pioneering work of the Welsh Government at UK level and in the other nations of the UK. The video of the workshop is available on our event page.