BRITISH households might be getting richer but they are not getting happier, official analysis has suggested.

The Office for National Statistics has for the first time pulled together a range of data to calibrate the country’s well-being and found that while wages are rising and the number of people in work is increasing, the ratings for happiness have levelled off.

The ONS points to the level of debt households have – an average of 133 per cent of disposable income – as a possible reason for this.

Its main findings are:

*in the latest quarter, economic indicators such as income and spending continued to increase, however longer term, there was a “slowdown of household conditions,” seen in a levelling off of people’s personal well-being while people’s perception of the future has been worsening;

*in the third quarter of 2018, there was an increase in real household disposable income per head, up 0.7 per cent compared with a year ago, alongside similar rises in earnings, employment and household spending and improved anxiety ratings;

*yet since the end of 2017, improvements have levelled off in average happiness, life satisfaction and worthwhile ratings;

*since the first quarter of 2013, household debt per head has been increasing and stands now at 133 per cent of disposable income - “combined with spending per person outgrowing disposable income by £119 since Quarter 2 2016, it supports previous analysis suggesting that some households may be living beyond their means”;

*people believe the economy and their personal financial situation will worsen over the next 12 months, continuing more pessimistic views seen since the beginning of 2018 and

*these trends may not necessarily be equally distributed across different parts of society - for example, between 2011 and 2016 financial years, average income for the bottom 20 per cent of households increased by 4.8 per cent or £589 while for the top 20 per cent it increased by 6.7 per cent or £4,123.

Glen Everett, the ONS’s Head of Inequalities, said: “Despite high levels of employment, rising incomes and spending across UK households, people are not reporting increases in their well-being. This may be due to worries about rising debt repayments, which could be driving concerns about their future financial situation.”

John McDonnell for Labour said the official snapshot of people’s well-being should come as a “wake-up call to a complacent and out-of-touch government, recklessly heading towards a catastrophic no-deal Brexit while households are having to go into the red to get by”.

The Shadow Chancellor said the unequal nature of the economy under the Tories was highlighted by income growing significantly faster for the top 20 per cent compared to the bottom 20 per cent.

"Underemployment remains well above its pre-crisis level, while millions of others are overworked,” declared the Shadow Chancellor.

He added: "It has never been clearer: we need a general election and a Labour Government to put right the damage done by nine years of vicious Conservative austerity."

No 10 was asked for a response to the ONS’s findings but none was provided.