SINePost newsletter - December 2013
In this issue ...
- Health Inequalities by Socio-Economic Status
- Workday Populations
- Business Births and Deaths
- Welfare Reform: Housing Benefit Spare Room Subsidy reductions
- Indebted Lives: The Complexities of Life in Debt report
- Excess Winter Mortality
- Winter Fuel Payments
- Troubled Families Programme
- Traveller Caravan Count
- New Population Estimates for Electoral Wards
- Forthcoming Statistical Releases
1. Health Inequalities by Socio-Economic Status
The Office for National Statistics has investigated health inequalities in relation to people’s socio-economic position (i.e., occupation and employment status) using data from the 2011 Census. The analysis considers those who identified their health as ‘not good’ in the Census (i.e., fair, bad or very bad health).
Socio-economic position is rated on a scale of 1 to 7: Class 1 represents higher managerial/professional occupations and Class 7 represents routine occupations (e.g., bar staff, labourer). On average, people in Class 7 have notably higher rates of ‘not good’ health than those in Class 1. A ‘Slope Index of Inequality’ (SII) indicates the ‘health gap’, accounting for the varying distribution of workers in each class and area: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census-analysis/health-gaps-by-socio-economic-position-of-occupations-in-england--wales--english-regions-and-local-authorities--2011/index.html
Information is broken down by local authority and then ranked nationally (with the local authority ranked 1st having the smallest health gap). Within Somerset, West Somerset has the largest health gap for men (ranked 191st of 346 local authorities) and Taunton Deane marginally the largest gap for women (ranked 141st of 346). South Somerset has the smallest health gap for men (ranked 87th) and Mendip the smallest gap for women (ranked 66th nationally).
2. Workday Populations
The population of some Somerset towns increases by up to 16% on a typical working day, according to estimates released from the 2011 Census. The ‘workday population’ captures where people usually work (while people not working are recorded at their usual home address): www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/workday-population-statistics-for-output-areas-in-england-and-wales--part-1-/index.html
Of Somerset’s principal towns, Taunton sees its population increase from around 64,600 to 74,700, while Yeovil sees its population increase from 45,800 to 53,300 on a typical working day. Conversely, Bridgwater and Frome see their populations decline (by around 2% and 14% respectively) as workers commute elsewhere.
3. Business Births and Deaths
There were 20,850 active enterprises in Somerset in 2012 according to the latest Business Demography dataset published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This represents the fourth year-on-year decrease in active enterprises, following a recent peak in 2008 aligned to the economic boom.
There were 1,815 new businesses formed in Somerset in 2012, a ‘birth rate’ of 8.7%. Meanwhile, 2,030 businesses closed, a ‘death rate’ of 9.7%. Somerset sees a lower business birth rate and also a lower death rate than the UK as a whole (UK: 11.4% and 10.7% respectively). The rate of business deaths in Somerset has exceeded the rate of business births since 2009.
A business demography briefing paper is planned and will be available on the Somerset Intelligence website. Meanwhile the full ONS dataset is available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/2012/index.html
4. Welfare Reform: Housing Benefit Spare Room Subsidy reductions
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has started publishing monthly figures on the number of Housing Benefit claimants having payment reductions due to the ‘spare room subsidy’, including the average amount withdrawn: www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-housing-benefit-claimants-and-average-weekly-spare-room-subsidy-amount-withdrawal
In August 2013 a total of 2,842 claimants in Somerset received reduced Housing Benefit as a result of this welfare reform, representing around 8% of all Housing Benefit claimants. The average weekly reduction ranged from £13.75 in Sedgemoor to £16.65 in West Somerset (equivalent to £717 and £868 respectively per year).
The great majority of households saw a reduction due to having one spare bedroom, although around 1 in 6 households received a reduction due to two or more bedrooms. West Somerset residents were again the most affected on average, by £27.42 per week.
5. Indebted Lives: The Complexities of Life in Debt
An estimated 18% of adults in the UK are ‘over-indebted’ according to research commissioned by the government appointed Money Advice Service. ‘Over-indebted’ refers to individuals who have been at least three months behind with their bills in the last six months, or have said that they feel their debts are a heavy burden.
Within Somerset, the proportion of over-indebted adults ranges from 10.9% in Mendip to 16.0% in Sedgemoor. If applied to Somerset’s 18 and over population, this equates to around 57,000 individuals in the county overall. The full report is available at: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/static/indebted-lives-the-complexities-of-life-in-debt-press-office
Meanwhile, the Money Advice Service’s Christmas spending survey has reported that:
- One in three UK adults say they expect to start 2014 in debt because of spending at Christmas.
- 1.2 million adults (2.4% of the adult population) say they plan use payday loans to fund their Christmas festivities.
- One in 10 adults in November 2013 were still paying for Christmas 2012.
6. Excess Winter Mortality
The estimated number of excess winter deaths in the South West of England increased by 27% in 2012/13 compared to the previous year (from 2,440 to 3,100 deaths). Nationally, the increase was 29%, driven by higher numbers of deaths in March 2013, linked to unusually cold temperatures that month.
Figures for individual local authorities will not be published until the end of next year; however, final estimates for the preceding year, 2011/12, suggest a total of 190 excess winter deaths in Somerset. At the time, this represented the lowest figure in any of the preceding 20 years of published data.
The Office for National Statistics advises that figures for local areas tend to be quite variable from one year to the next. For some statistics, such as life expectancy, the same affluent areas generally have the highest life expectancy, and the same deprived areas have the lowest. But this is not the case of Excess Winter Mortality – there is no consistent pattern across local areas.
Further details, including definitions of excess deaths and the winter period, are available on the Office for National Statistics website: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2012-13--provisional--and-2011-12--final-/index.html
7. Winter Fuel Payments
A total of 140,560 people in Somerset received Winter Fuel Payments during 2012/13 according to information released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter-fuel-payment-caseload-and-household-figures-201213
A total 97,660 households in Somerset received Winter Fuel Payments during 2012/13, equating to 43% of all households in the county. Around 54% of all recipients in Somerset were female, rising to 61% of those aged 80 or over.
8. Troubled Families Programme
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published latest figures on progress made by local authorities in delivering the Troubled Families Programme. Broadly speaking, troubled families are those that have problems themselves and cause problems to the community around them, putting high costs on the public sector.
As at September 2013, a total of 589 families in Somerset had been identified for the programme, out of a planned total of 870. Of these, 292 were being worked with. As at the end of October 2013, a total of 59 families in Somerset had been ‘turned around’. Further details are available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/troubled-families-progress-information-at-september-2013-and-families-turned-around-at-october-2013
9. Travellers Caravan Count
Somerset is home to 497 traveller caravans, according to the latest snapshot (as at 1st July 2013) published by Department for Communities and Local Government. Just over half of traveller caravans in Somerset are located in Mendip: www.gov.uk/government/publications/traveller-caravan-count-july-2013
The latest count is an increase on the figure reported a year earlier (459) but is lower than the count of two years ago (527 caravans). The dataset was previously referred to as the ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller Caravan Count’.
10. New Population Estimates for Electoral Wards
The Office for National Statistics has published latest population estimates (mid-2012) for electoral wards, by gender and single year of age: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/sape/ward-mid-year-pop-est-eng-wales-exp/mid-2012/mid-2012.html
The average population of Somerset’s wards is 3,876, well below the national average of 6,600. Somerset wards range in size from 1,107 (West Quantock) to 8,855 (Yeovil South).
The ONS has also published revised ward population estimates for mid-2002 to mid 2010, following findings from the 2011 Census: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/sape/ward-mid-year-pop-est-eng-wales-exp/index.html
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during December:
- 2011 Census Analysis - Differences in disability prevalence by socio-economic occupational groupings (ONS)
- 2011 Census Analysis - Immigration patterns and characteristics of non-UK born population groups (ONS)
- Outcomes for Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England – 2013 (DfE)
- Performance Tables in England: - Primary School (Key Stage 2) 2013 (DfE)
- Electricity and Gas consumption at local authority level - During 2012 (DECC)
- Local Authority Housing Statistics: Local Authority-owned stock and stock management - 2012-13 (DCLG)
- 2011 Census - Detailed Characteristics on Qualifications for Wards and MSOAs (ONS)