SINePost newsletter - January 2016
In this issue ...
- University Admissions
- What About YOUth? Survey
- Journey Times to Key Services
- Railway Station Usage
- Households not on the Gas Grid
- House Price Statistics for Small Areas
- Out-of-work Claimant Count
- Latest Economic Factsheets
- Travel to Work Areas
- Benefit Expenditure
- Forthcoming Statistical Releases
1. University Admissions
The proportion of Somerset’s 18 year-old population entering higher education remains below regional and national averages according figures from UCAS. The entry rate in Somerset in 2015 was 25.6%, compared to an average of 27.6% for the South West region and 31.3% nationally.
Information is published at parliamentary constituency level, indicating that the Wells constituency has the highest entry rate within Somerset (29.2%), followed by Taunton Deane (28.8%), Somerton and Frome (25.8%), Yeovil (23.0%) and Bridgwater and West Somerset (20.6%).
2. What About YOUth? Survey
‘What About YOUth?’ is a new survey commissioned by the Department of Health to gather local authority level data on a range of health behaviours amongst 15 year-olds: www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB19244
The results indicate that Somerset is similar to the national average in terms of most of the indicators of health and wellbeing, and performs particularly well in respect of physical activity.
Areas where Somerset appears worse than the national average include bullying, cyber-bulling and alcohol use:
- Somerset ranks 28th worst of 150 local authorities in terms of 15 year-olds experiencing bullying.
- Somerset is 34th highest for cyber-bullying (24th for girls). Girls are twice as likely as boys to have been cyber-bullied.
- Somerset is significantly higher than national average in terms of young people who have ‘ever had alcohol’ (24th highest overall, 15th highest for boys).
3. Journey Times to Key Services
The Department for Transport (DfT) have published new journey time estimates at small area (LSOA) level. These estimate journey times by public transport / walking, cycling and car to eight key services: primary schools, secondary schools, FE colleges, GPs, hospitals, food stores, town centres and employment centres.
For Somerset as a whole in 2014, the average minimum travel time across the eight key services was 23 minutes by public transport/walking, 17 minutes by cycling and 12 minutes by car. By comparison for England as a whole, the figures were 17 minutes, 14 minutes and 10 minutes respectively.
At a district level, average times are shortest in Taunton Deane and longest in West Somerset, with West Somerset appearing within the top ten local authorities nationally in terms of average journey time by public transport / walking.
4. Railway Station Usage
Passenger numbers increased at all ten railway stations in Somerset in 2014/15 compared to 2013/14, according to estimates published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR): http://orr.gov.uk/statistics/published-stats/station-usage-estimates
In 2014/15, the combined total of passenger entrances and exits for all Somerset stations was 2,870,206. This was 4.6% higher than in 2013/14, with individual increases ranging from 0.2% at Bruton to 12.7% at Highbridge & Burnham. Congestion at Bristol is highlighted as a possible reason for the large increase at Highbridge & Burnham.
Taunton accounts for nearly half station usage in Somerset, with 1,315,144 entries and exits. By comparison, Bristol Temple Meads has just over 10 million entries and exits.
5. Households not on the Gas Grid
West Somerset has the third highest rate of households with no access to mains gas of any local authority in England according to latest (2014) estimates from the Department for Energy and Climate Change: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-national-estimates-of-households-not-connected-to-the-gas-network
The proportion of ‘non-gas’ households within Somerset ranges from 16% in Taunton Deane district to 46% in West Somerset. For Somerset as a whole, an estimated 59,200 homes are not on the gas grid (down from 62,000 in 2013). These households are therefore reliant on alternative (generally, more expensive) sources of fuel.
6. House Price Statistics for Small Areas
The Office for National Statistics is now publishing house price statistics for small areas (HPSSAs) on a quarterly basis, for a rolling year. Figures are available for local authorities and MSOAs (Middle-layer Super Output Areas) plus some geographies not previously available, including Local Enterprise Partnerships and Census Travel to Work Areas (TTWAs): http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/regional-analysis/house-price-statistics-for-small-areas/year-ending-q4-1995-to-year-ending-q2-2015/index.html
The latest figures (for the year ending Quarter 2, 2015) see mean house prices in South Somerset at their highest ever level, with Mendip having its highest ever figure in the previous quarter. Mean prices in Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset remain below their 2008 housing-boom peaks. There were a total of 9,928 property sales in Somerset in the year, of which 1,211 related to newly built dwellings.
The mean price for a newly-built dwelling ranged from £178,628 in Sedgemoor to £279,368 in Mendip.
7. Out-of-work Claimant Count
Following the introduction of Universal Credit (UC), new ‘claimant count’ figures are now being published, combining Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and out-of-work UC claimants. Previously the claimant count related solely to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants.
In November 2015 the total out-of-work claimant count in Somerset was 3,255, representing 1.0% of the working-age population. At a district level, rates ranged from 0.8% in South Somerset to 1.4% in Sedgemoor.
The JSA claimant count (only) for Somerset in November 2015 was 2,526.
8. Latest Economic Factsheets
The following updated factsheets are now available on the Somerset Intelligence website, providing latest facts and figures on Somerset’s economy:
- ‘Total employment’ (jobs) in Somerset increased by 1.5% between 2013 and 2014, compared to an increase of 2.7% at national level.
- Unemployment in Somerset stood at 4.6% in June 2015, higher than the Heart of the South West LEP area (4.4%) but lower than the UK as a whole (5.8%).
- The number of businesses in Somerset increased by 5.6% between 2014 and 2015, compared to an 8.2% increase nationally.
9. Travel to Work Areas
The Office for National Statistics has published details of new Travel to Work Areas (TTWAs), based on commuting flow data from the 2011 Census. The criteria for defining TTWAs is that generally at least 75% of an area's resident workforce work in the area and at least 75% of the people who work in the area also live in the area. They are intended for use in local labour market analysis.
TTWA areas in Somerset are largely aligned to district boundaries, although established commuter flows mean that parts of Mendip are within the Bath and Trowbridge TTWAs, while parts of north Sedgemoor are aligned to a Weston-super-Mare TTWA.
10. Benefit Expenditure
Total expenditure on benefits in Somerset increased by 2.5% to £1,469 million in 2014/15 according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2015
The increase was largely driven by increases in expenditure on the State Pension (up 4.7% on the 2013/14 figure). The State Pension accounted for nearly two-thirds (63%) of benefit expenditure in Somerset, and was followed by Housing Benefit (11%) and Disability Living Allowance (7%). Job-seekers Allowance accounted for approximately 1% of expenditure.
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during January:
- Destinations of key stage 4 and key stage 5 students in England, 2013/14 (revised) (DfE)
- Local Authority Housing Statistics: year ending March 2015 (DCLG)
- Numbers of patients registered at a GP practice: January 2016 (NHS)
- Universal Credit: 29 Apr 2013 to 31 Dec 2015 (DWP)
- Sub-national electricity and gas consumption at MSOA and LSOA level in 2014 (DECC)
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