What's The Plan

The Big Issue founder, Lord Bird, has introduced the Future Generations Bill in Parliament, and is working to build a cross-party alliance of MPs and Peers to change the law.

The ‘Future Generations Bill’ is an opportunity to embed long-termism, prevention and the interests of future generations at the heart of UK policy-making, aiming to tackle the climate crisis, poverty and health inequalities, head on.

Why The Future Generations Bill

Inspired by the Well-being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 – and the lessons learned since its enactment – it will enshrine in law:

  1. The future generations principle, which will be defined as ‘seeking to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’, and is adapted from UN sustainable development policy, highlighting the close links between the aims of the Welsh legislation and Agenda 2030.
  2. A series of (sub-principles or) ways of working; including:
    1. Balancing short-term and long-term needs
    2. Acting preventatively
    3. Forecasting emerging risks.
  3. A Future Generations Commissioner for the UK, whose primary duty will be to act as a guardian of the ability of future generations to meet their needs, but also to oversee UK Government policy and duties.
  4. Future generations duties on (non-devolved) public bodies, including the UK Government, to:
    1. Set and work towards well-being goals in accordance with the future generations principle. Inspired by Wales’ seven well-being goals, these UK goals will be set following a UK Government-led consultation over a six-month period.
    2. Demonstrate how they are acting in accordance with the future generations principle in seeking to improve people’s economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being. This is combined with corresponding rights of legal redress to hold public bodies to account.
    3. Publish future generations impact assessments of the likely impact on future generations of a proposed change in expenditure, policy or legislation.
    4. d. Report on and seek to increase their preventative spending in according with the future generation principle.
  5. Future generations duties on UK Government ministers to:
    1. Publish a national risk assessment containing (a) an assessment of future emerging risks, and (b) how they plan to manage and prepare for those risks.
    2. Publish future trends reports, which must take into account the views of (a) the UK Committee on Climate Change, (b) the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (c) school and further and higher education students via an annual survey.
  6. A Joint Parliamentary Committee for the Future to (a) scrutinise legislation for its effect on future generations, (b) hold UK Government ministers accountable for short-term decision-making, and (c) report on future trends.