The return of the dour Fifer?

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Is it true? Are Fifers really among the least happy people in Scotland?

That’s the official verdict from the first ever national wellbeing survey published by the Office for National Statistics this week.

The subjective analysis was commissioned in an effort to produce an alternative measure of national performance to economic figures.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was crucial to finding out what the Government can do to ‘really improve lives’.

According to the figures, just 67.5 per cent of Fifers asked said they considered themselves to have medium or high levels of happiness.

The region’s happiness levels were among the lowest in Scotland, with just five other Council areas lower - Glasgow City, North and South Lanarkshire, and North and South Ayrshire.

The happiest area in both Scotland and the UK as a whole was Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland.

But the view of whether this is an accurate picture of Fife is mixed.

David Torrance, Kirkcaldy MSP, said: “I don’t think it’s a true reflection.

“Of course Fife has some economic problems - the current economic situation is affecting everyone - but I think Fife’s a great place.

“The communities round about that support one another and the people who give their time to make events happen are fantastic. There’s so much to do in Fife it’s a great place to live and work.

“I don’t know why Fife has come out so low, when Scotland came out very happy overall. Maybe people have answered from an economic situation and are struggling a bit.

“But that aside, there is so many positive aspects to Fife.

“I’ve been to so many events that have been fantastically well supported this summer and people are very positive about everything going on in their communities.

“There are some smaller issues affecting people, but generally people seem happy.”

However Pastor Stuart Wood, of the Connect Church in Kirkcaldy, was surprised by the figures.

He said: “It surprises me it’s as high as that.

“I think because unemployment is so high along with other factors, I can only comment on Kirkcaldy where I live, but there doesn’t seem to be a feel good factor in town.

“Just take a walk through the town centre ... so many shops are closed, drive along the Prom and there are derelict buildings

“When you add all these things together it’s not a surprise people are unhappy.”