The number of people sleeping rough in Somerset has declined to its lowest level since 2013 according to figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rough-sleeping-in-england-autumn-2018
Local authorities in Somerset estimated the number of rough sleepers in 2018 (as of autumn that year) to be 36. This compared to 57 in 2017 and 48 in 2016. The highest numbers of rough sleepers in 2018 were in Mendip and Taunton Deane districts (14 in each).
Of the estimated 36 rough sleepers in Somerset in 2018; five were female, one was aged 18 to 25, and four were non-UK nationals from within the EU.
Nationally, overall numbers of rough sleepers declined by 2% between 2017 and 2018, despite a 13% increase in London.
2. Jobs Density estimates
There are estimated to be the equivalent of 0.87 jobs for every Somerset resident aged 16-64 according to latest annual (2017) jobs density figures from the Office for National Statistics. This proportion is unchanged from the figure a year earlier.
Within Somerset, Taunton Deane district has the highest jobs density (0.95), followed by Mendip (0.90), South Somerset (0.87), West Somerset (0.86) and Sedgemoor (0.75).
A jobs density of 1.00 means that there is one job for every resident aged 16 to 64. Within the South West region, only Exeter, Bristol, Cheltenham, Poole, West Dorset, North Devon and Cotswold have a jobs density figure of 1.00 or greater.
For the full dataset, see: www.nomisweb.co.uk/articles/1148.aspx
3. Alternative Out-of-work Claimant Count statistics
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published new alternative Claimant Count statistics, to help address the impact of the roll-out of Universal Credit on the out-of-work benefit claimant count:
The Claimant Count shows the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits. Because under Universal Credit (UC) a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under Jobseekers Allowance, the phased roll-out of UC has had the effect of increasing the count in some areas.
The new DWP Alternative Claimant Count models the number of people that would have been claiming unemployment related benefits if Universal Credit had been fully implemented since 2013. The new statistics therefore attempt to provide a consistent measure of claimant unemployment over time, and better reflect changes in the economic climate.
The figures indicate that in November 2018, Somerset’s Alternative Claimant Count stood at 7,835 people. This represents an increase on the 6,783 claimants at the same point in 2017 but is well down on the 9,508 claimants in November 2013.
4. Gender of bank account holders on Universal Credit
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published ad-hoc statistics on couples claiming Universal Credit (UC), specifically the gender of the person whose bank account receives the UC payment.
The results show that, where the gender of the account holder could be identified, 59% of accounts are held by a female with 41% held by a male.
The information has been released as a result of increased public interest in the gender of UC recipients, amid concerns that the single payment system may allow perpetrators of domestic abuse to take charge of household budgets.
For the full report, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gender-of-bank-account-holders-on-universal-credit
Latest data (for August 2018) indicates a total of 17,943 households in Somerset in receipt of Universal Credit, of which 3,623 are couple households.
5. Birth characteristics
The proportion of births outside marriage or civil partnership in Somerset remains above the national average in latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. In 2017, 52.8% of live births in Somerset were outside marriage or civil partnership compared to 47.6% for England as a whole.
At a district level, proportions of births outside marriage or civil partnership ranged from 48.8% in Taunton Deane to 59.9% in Sedgemoor.
Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor have the highest overall (crude) birth rates in Somerset (at 10.3 and 10.0 per 1,000 population in 2017). West Somerset has the lowest birth rate in Somerset and the second lowest in England (at 6.8 births per 1,000 population).
6. Sexual Orientation estimates
Results from the 2017 Annual Population Survey (APS) indicate that 2.4% of adults in the South West of England identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual (LGB). If this proportion were applied to Somerset’s population demographic, it would equate to around 11,000 lesbian, gay or bisexual adults in the county.
In recent years the South West region has seen the largest change in the percentage of people identifying as LGB; increasing from 1.4% in 2012 to 2.4% in 2017. Nationally, the proportion in 2017 was 2.0%
Nationally, males continue to be more likely to identify as LGB than females (2.3%, compared to 1.8%), while people aged 16 to 24 years are most likely to identify as LGB (4.2%).
It is generally accepted that the APS will underestimate the true size of the lesbian, gay or bisexual population. Several historical surveys, both in the UK and overseas, have variously put the size of the LGB population at between 5% and 7%.
7. Dwelling Stock by Tenure estimates
The Office for National Statistics has published experimental statistics on the tenure of dwellings, at local authority level, from 2012 to 2017. This aims to address a knowledge gap in existing data (from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) which does not distinguish between owner-occupied and privately rented dwellings. The research outputs are not classified as official statistics.
Data is available for four of Somerset’s five district areas, with West Somerset unavailable due to a small sample size. In 2017, there were estimated to be a total of 153,945 owner-occupied dwellings in the four Somerset districts and 39,920 privately rented dwellings. These figures represent increases of 5% and 4% respectively on the 2012 totals.
For full details, see: www.ons.gov.uk/releases/researchoutputssubnationaldwellingstockbytenureestimatesengland2012to2017
8. English Housing Survey results
Initial results from the latest English Housing Survey have been published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The national survey, first run in 2008/09, aims to assess the ongoing circumstances and condition of housing in England.
Headlines from the 2017/18 Survey include:
- After more than a decade of decline, the proportion of 35 to 44 year olds in owner occupation has increased.
- The proportion of social renters who expect to buy has declined. No such decline was observed among private renters.
- There remains a lower proportion of non-decent homes in the social sector than in the private rented and owner-occupied sectors.
9. Annual Bus Passenger Statistics
The number of passenger journeys on local bus services in Somerset increased to 7.8 million in 2017/18, up from 7.2 million in 2016/17, in figures published by the Department for Transport.
At 14.1 journeys per head of population, Somerset continues to have the lowest rate of local bus passenger journeys in the South West region, and the 7th lowest rate in England as a whole. In the South West region there were 39.6 passenger journeys per head of population in 2017/18.
For the full dataset, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/bus01-local-bus-passenger-journeys
10. Measuring Loneliness
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published recommendations on measuring loneliness, including details of the first tranche of government surveys that will be adopting the measure. This means that for the first time, loneliness can be measured at a local level:
Meanwhile, the ONS, in partnership with the Children’s Society, has published research exploring how children and young people experience loneliness. It gives insight into what shapes young people’s experiences of loneliness and what might help to reduce it.
The research shows that:
- 11.3% of children said that they were ‘often’ lonely
- Children who reported ‘low’ satisfaction with their health said they ‘often’ felt lonely (28.3%)
- 27.5% of children who received free school meals said they were ‘often’ lonely, compared with 5.5% of those who did not
For full details, see: www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during February:
- Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2013 to 2017: Local Authority level data (ONS)
- Benefit Cap: number of households capped to November 2018 (DWP)
- End of Life Care Profiles: February 2019 data update (PHE)
- Local Alcohol Profiles for England: February 2019 data update (PHE)
- Abortion statistics for England and Wales: 2017 (DHSC)
- Child Benefit small area statistics, August 2018 (HMRC)