Brexit blues? Britons stay cheerful in tumultuous 12 months

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 26, 2017 8:19 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Happiness levels in Britain have inched up to reach their highest rate since measurements of wellbeing began in 2011, despite the political uncertainty since last year's Brexit vote, the statistics office said.

The average level of happiness for the 12 months to March this year rose slightly among the roughly 150,000 people polled to 7.51 out of 10 after leveling off in the previous two years at slightly below 7.50.

"Today's figures may surprise some, showing a small increase in both reported happiness and life satisfaction during a period that has seen political change and uncertainty," ONS statistician Matthew Steel said.

Higher employment rates and perceived improvement in personal finances could explain some of the rise, he added.

A narrow majority of Britons who took part in the country's European Union membership referendum in June last year voted to leave the EU. Shortly afterwards, David Cameron resigned as prime minister and was replaced by Theresa May.

Despite the political shock, Britain's economy held up in 2016 although it slowed sharply in the first six months of 2017.

A monthly survey of consumer sentiment published by research firm GfK on Aug. 31 showed households were their most pessimistic in a year in July before a slight improvement in August.

(Reporting by Polina Ivanova; Editing by William Schomberg)