In Brief

‘UK happier after Brexit vote’ says ONS

Official figures show small rise in happiness in England but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland stay flat

The UK has become a happier place since the Brexit vote, according to official figures, but “the country’s bonhomie is entirely driven by an uptick in England’s mood as wellbeing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland stayed flat,” reports The Guardian.

Key barometers of happiness and wellbeing measured by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed small improvements over the year to the end of June – the first 12-month period since the EU referendum.

The findings “appear to be a tribute to the resilience of the British people, or to be more specific the English people,” says The Times.

The results are derived from a household survey by Ipsos Mori that asks people to rate aspects of their wellbeing on a scale between zero and ten.

They show that scores for happiness were up from 7.46 to 7.52, while satisfaction with life rose from 7.65 to 7.69 and worthwhileness rose from 7.84 to 7.87. The proportion of people who felt not just happy but very happy rose from 31.39% to 35.08% — “probably representing enthusiastic Brexiteers,” says The Times. Feelings of anxiety moved from 2.89 to 2.91.

The rises in the well-being rating could be due to employment levels rising, and improvements in GDP per head and the net national disposable income per head, the ONS said.

However, the statistics body said real household incomes are falling. It also pointed out the implications of Brexit “remain to be seen” because, although the government has triggered Article 50, the UK has not yet left the EU.

“Today's figures, the first to be based on a full year of data since the EU referendum, show small increases in how people in the UK rate their life satisfaction, happiness and feelings that the things they do in life are worthwhile,” said Matthew Steel, a statistician at the ONS.

“The improvements were driven by England - the only country where quality of life ratings got better over the last year.”

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