Jane Hutt, MS Minister for Social Justice
We all share a desire to contribute towards a stronger, fairer and healthier Wales and every one of us has a role to play as custodians of our nation. As a government we are working towards a more economically, socially and environmentally just Wales, a Wales we would want our children and grandchildren to inherit from us.
The Well-being of Future Generations Act with its seven well-being goals provides a framework for moving Wales onto a more sustainable path. It drives better decision making across the Welsh public sector and balances the needs of current and future generations.
Our Shaping Wales’ Future programme delivers on key parts of the Well-being of Future Generations Act in a single, strengthened programme of work with our partners. The national milestones are part of this, driving forward collaborative action in a number of key areas.
In December 2021 we laid Wales’ first nine national milestones in the Senedd and committed to delivering the remainder by the end of 2022. This reflected the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to some of the supporting data.
Today, I am pleased to lay the second wave of national milestones before the Senedd. The full set of national milestones for Wales will shape future action towards achieving the well-being goals.
These national milestone values have been developed following a programme of engagement with stakeholders and are unchanged following the formal consultation process after being well supported by respondees.
Whilst we recognise the immediate and significant challenges we are all facing, we know how important it is to set and use national milestones as part of the Well-being of Future Generations Act to lay out our shared, long-term ambitions for Wales.
We are committed to the health and wellbeing of everyone in Wales. Last year we set a national milestone on removing barriers to children having the healthiest possible start to their lives and we are now setting a complementary target to increase the percentage of adults with two or more healthy lifestyle behaviours to more than 97% by 2050.
Equality in health is of critical importance and this has been echoed by the input of our stakeholders and reinforced by the consultation responses. This is why we are focussing on increasing the healthy life expectancy of adults and narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy between the least and the most deprived by at least 15% by 2050.
Equally as important as physical health is mental health and wellbeing. This is particularly important as we face the current uncertainties both nationally and globally. This is why we are committing to improve adult and children’s mean mental wellbeing and eliminate the gap in adult and children’s mean mental wellbeing between the most deprived and least deprived areas in Wales by 2050.
Tackling wider inequalities is a fundamental ambition of this government and we are committed to reducing the poverty gap between people in Wales with certain key and protected characteristics (which mean they are most likely to be in poverty) and those without those characteristics by 2035 and committing to set a stretching target for 2050.
As part of Wales’ Economic Mission following the pandemic, we set out a vision of what makes Wales an attractive place to live, study, work and invest. An important element of this is improving GDHI per head in Wales by 2035 and committing to set a stretching growth target for 2050.
We also want to deliver on our net zero targets. We will work through the Warm Homes Programme and optimised retrofit programme to enable all homes in Wales to have adequate and cost-effective energy performance by 2050.
Protecting our precious natural resources is key to building a resilient Wales and our response to the climate and nature emergency, as part of this we are committing to reverse the decline in biodiversity with an improvement in the status of species and ecosystems by 2030 and their clear recovery by 2050.
We know how important it is to recognise the societal and environmental value of volunteering to Wales by increasing the percentage of people who volunteer by 10% by 2050, demonstrating Wales’s status as a volunteering nation.
The national milestones will ensure that the well-being goals remain relevant to people’s lives now and in the future. We will provide progress updates in the annual Well-being of Wales report and continue the conversation with stakeholders as part of our Shaping Wales’ Future work programme. This will include further work on strengthening and refining the supporting data.
The national milestones measure our collective progress as a nation and it is crucial that public bodies, public and private organisations and every individual considers how they can actively contribute to them. Progress towards these national milestones will help us deliver a more sustainable Wales for current and future generations.
I am pleased to be presenting these national milestones to the Senedd.