Cameron to focus Tories on well-being not wealth

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Indy Politics

David Cameron will make a decisive break with Thatcherism today by saying the Tories must no longer be obsessed with money or market forces.

The Tory leader will say: "Wealth is about so much more than pounds or euros or dollars can ever measure. It's time we admitted there's more to life than money, and it's time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB - General Well-Being."

Addressing a conference organised by Google in Hertfordshire, Mr Cameron will argue that improving society's sense of well-being is a central political challenge.

"Well-being can't be measured by money or traded in markets," he will say. "It's about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture, and above all the strength of our relationships.".

Buoyed by the Tories' success in this month's local elections, he will confront his critics who are worried that he is ditching the party's traditional beliefs.

He will say: "There are some on the right who might say that this has got nothing to do with politics - that we should leave it all to the market and not interfere. But what kind of politics is it that has nothing to say about such a central aspect of people's lives? We have to care about working life, and we have to show that politics can make a positive difference."

The Tory leader will declare that the "personal" matters to people more than the "commercial", adding: "Our goal is clear: to move beyond a belief in the Protestant work ethic alone to a modern vision of ethical work ...The traditional response of the right - that government can't do much about all this and shouldn't try - is inadequate.But equally, the response of the new left - that government should regulate the specific details of working life - is too ineffective."

In another break with tradition, he will set a goal for the next Tory Government to make the public sector a world leader in progressive employment practice.

"We need to do this at the same time as showing ... that these practices are raising productivity and improving outputs for the people who use - and through their taxes, pay for - public services," he will say.