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Political and Industry Leaders Debate At Ulster

8 June 2011

Politicians, academics, industry leaders and senior civil servants from across Northern Ireland will come together at the University of Ulster today to debate how best to measure economic performance. 

The round table discussion will be hosted by the Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment, Professor Ian Montgomery, in the Conor  Lecture Theatre at the Belfast campus this afternoon. 

He said: “I am delighted so many distinguished guests have agreed to participate in our panel, including, DFP Permanent Secretary, Stephen Peover, Conall McDevitt MLA and Simon Scott, NICS Energy Regulator, to name a few.” 

The panel will hear from keynote speaker, Professor Jan Bebbington, Director of the St Andrews Sustainability Institute at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. 

She will introduce the Carnegie UK Trust’s report, More Than GDP: Measuring What Matters. 

Professor Bebbington said: “For over half a century, economic growth has been taken as a proxy for prosperity, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) considered to be its best measure. It is time to look at measuring what really matters. 

“There is growing recognition that all national administrations need to measure progress using more than GDP alone. A round table discussion I recently chaired in Scotland developed the ideas put forward in the report of the Stiglitz Commission, set up by France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, and explored how these ideas might work in Scotland.  

“We found that Scotland has already started the move to more sophisticated approaches to being able to track the broad impact of policies on its people and environment. We believe there is a real opportunity for similar outcomes based frameworks to be developed across the United Kingdom to measure more of what matters to nations as a whole.”