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The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Bird (Crossbench). It aims to ensure UK policymaking takes into account the interests of future generations. It sets out a series of steps to achieve this, including:

  • Defining the concepts of “sustainable development”, a “future generations principle” and “wellbeing goals”.
  • Requiring the Government to devise, publish and report on a set of indicators on progress towards the wellbeing goals.
  • That any proposed change in public expenditure, taxation or policy should be accompanied by a “future generations impact assessment”.
  • Establishing a “future generations commissioner” for the UK to act as a guardian of the interests of future generations.
  • Setting up a parliamentary joint committee on future generations.
  • Requiring certain companies to include in their directors’ reports a statement of the impact of their activities on the wellbeing goals.
  • Requiring public bodies to consider the wellbeing goals in their procurement exercises.

In January 2020, the Government re-introduced the Environment Bill. It would require ministers to consider future generations when making a policy statement on environmental principles. Reports have also suggested that the Government may change the criteria by which public investment decisions are made. However, the reports indicated that these might be aimed at reducing regional inequalities, rather than altering the balance between generations.

On 13 March 2020, the House of Lords is scheduled to consider the second reading of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]. The bill had its first reading in the House of Lords on 8 January 2020. The House of Lords debated the interests of future generations in June 2019. The Library prepared a briefing for the debate. In addition, the House of Lords Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Committee published its final report in April 2019. The Government published its response in July 2019. The House is yet to debate the report.


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