Volunteer Nation

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20151215

Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane explores a hidden engine of the British economy - its volunteers. The UK has an unpaid army of workers which hides in plain sight. "This is a fantastic success story, which is largely missed. And it could be even more of a success story if people knew about it," says Haldane, the country's most senior economist. He speaks both from his professional expertise and his personal experience, as he is a volunteer himself. This makes him one of the estimated 15 million people who volunteer in Britain regularly. Their efforts keep the country's sports clubs, libraries, hospitals and countless other facilities open and running. But their efforts are often unmeasured, unrecognized and sometimes used, it is argued, as a substitute for services and employment once provided by the state. Haldane explores the impact this volunteer army has on our economy and our communities and asks what more we could do to harness their efforts for the greater good of us all.

Producer: Sandra Kanthal.