BRITAIN is getting happier – thanks, it seems, to the Scots.

In its annual survey of well-being, the Office for National Statistics points out how, amid the continuing gloom of the Brexit process, folk south and west of the border in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are becoming more unhappy.

Yet the UK’s overall happiness rating has been pushed up thanks to the sunnier disposition of those living in Scotland.

The ONS says: “Scotland has shown improvements in average ratings of life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness but there have been no overall changes in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.”

It explains: “Between the years ending December 2016 and 2017, improvements in worthwhile and happiness ratings in the UK were driven by Scotland, where average ratings also improved.

“Interestingly, average life satisfaction ratings also improved for Scotland; however, there were no significant changes for ratings of anxiety. No overall changes were reported for any measure of personal well-being in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.”

Frustratingly perhaps, the ONS does not explain just what makes Scots happier than those who live in other parts of the UK but it does say that the three most influential factors on people’s well-being are their employment status, self-reported health and relationship status.

The organisation tracks wellbeing by surveying people and looking at four measures: are you satisfied with your life; are the things you do worthwhile; how happy are you and how anxious are you?

The unhappiest Britons appear to be the Welsh. The ONS notes: “A larger proportion of people in Wales reported low levels of life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness compared with the UK average in the year ending December 2017.”

The research shows how over the years, from March 2012 to December 2017, Scots’ well-being has increased on the four measures used: life satisfaction[7.51 to 7.72]; worthwhileness[7.68 to 7.88]; happiness[7.31 to 7.51]; and anxiety[3.06 to 2.9].

Meanwhile, the UK average ratings across the four measures of personal well-being in the year ending December 2017 were:

*7.7 out of 10 for life satisfaction;

*7.9 out of 10 for feeling that what you do in life is worthwhile;

*7.5 out of 10 for happiness and

*2.9 out of 10 for anxiety.