SINePost newsletter - June 2015
In this issue ...
- Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) summary
- Fuel Poverty
- Armed Forces veterans
- Road Traffic volumes
- Latest Economic Factsheets
- Internet Users
- Universal Credit
- The Benefit Cap
- Indices of Deprivation 2015
- Public Health England webinars
- Forthcoming Statistical Releases
1. Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) summary
Somerset’s JSNA summary for 2014/15 has now been published on the Somerset Intelligence website. The summary gives an overview of the strategic health, wellbeing and social needs of Somerset people and has a particular focus on our rural communities. It includes links to appropriate webpages where more detail can be found.
Issues identified include:
- Higher emergency admission rates for people over the age of 75 in rural areas
- Social isolation in older rural women
- Higher death rates for older people with certain health conditions living in our small towns
- Availability of good jobs and housing for young people living in the countryside
2. Fuel Poverty
The number of Somerset households living in fuel poverty has increased, according to figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change. The latest (2013) estimate of 26,730 fuel poor households represents 11.2% of all households in the county. It is an increase of 5,209 households on the previous year’s figure. Nationally, the proportion of fuel poor households fell, to 10.4%.
A household is considered to be fuel poor if:
- they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level)
- were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.
Highest rates of fuel poverty are generally found in areas of deprivation and in rural areas (typically those containing older, less energy-efficient properties, and with no access to the gas grid). West Somerset district has the highest fuel poverty rate in Somerset (12.9%) and Taunton Deane the lowest (10.7%). At a local level, the areas with the highest rates are in Taunton (Halcon area), Porlock & District, Bridgwater (Eastover area), and Roadwater.
More detailed local analysis will be made available on the Somerset Intelligence website shortly.
3. Armed Forces Veterans
There are a total of 7,135 armed forces pension or compensation recipients in Somerset according to latest Ministry of Defence figures, as at 31 March 2015.
Since comparable figures were last published in 2011/12, the number of recipients under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme in Somerset has declined from 6,685 to 5,770, while numbers of War Pension recipients have declined from 2,190 to 2,025. The number of payments awarded to individuals under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme has increased from 185 to 280. See: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/location-of-armed-forces-pension-and-compensation-recipients
Meanwhile, according to results of the national Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey 2015 almost half of respondents were unaware of the Armed Forces Covenant, similar to the 2014 response. Officers were most likely to know something about the Covenant, with only 11% indicating that they knew nothing about it compared to 58% for Other Ranks. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/armed-forces-continuous-attitude-survey-2015
4. Road Traffic volumes
Traffic volumes in Somerset were broadly unchanged in 2014 compared to the previous year, bucking regional and national increases, according to estimates from the Department for Transport: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/tra89-traffic-by-local-authority
An estimated 3,864 million vehicle miles were travelled in Somerset in 2014 (compared to 3,863 million in 2013). Nationally there was a 2.4% increase and regionally a 1.9% increase.
Historically, traffic volumes in Somerset rose steadily between 1993 and 2008, before declining through to 2012. Traffic volumes in Somerset are currently just 4% higher than a decade ago but 27% higher than 20 years ago.
5. Latest Economic Factsheets
Latest economic facts and figures for Somerset are available through a series of updated factsheets covering: employment, unemployment, skills, occupations, and earnings. See:www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/economic-factsheets/
- Unemployment in Somerset stood at 5.2% in December 2014, an increase of 0.7 percentage points on the figure a year earlier. The UK rate is 6.4%.
- The number of apprenticeships being undertaken in Somerset (and nationally) has dropped. In 2013/14, 4,190 apprenticeships were started in Somerset, a decrease of 19% on the previous year. For England as a whole, the drop was 14%.
6. Internet Users
At the beginning of 2015 an estimated 56,000 adults in Somerset had never used the internet or had not used it within the last three months, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. This represents around 1 in 8 adults in the county.
Internet usage declines with increasing age. Nationally, between January and March 2015, 99% of all 16-24 year olds were ‘recent’ internet users, declining to 41% of men and 27% of women aged 75 or over. The proportion of adults who were recent internet users remains much lower for those that are disabled (68% compared with 92% for people that are not disabled).
7. Universal Credit
Universal Credit - part of government reform of the welfare benefit system - has now launched in Somerset. As at April 2015 there were approximately 50 people on the Universal Credit caseload according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): www.gov.uk/government/statistics/universal-credit-apr-2013-to-may-2015
Roll out will be slow, with claims only initially taken from single people who would otherwise be eligible for a new claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance (and even then there are some exceptions).
Once fully implemented, Universal Credit will replace six working-age benefits: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Housing Benefit.
8. The Benefit Cap
The number of households in Somerset subject to a benefit cap has declined in the last year according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). As at February 2015 there were 89 households subject to the cap, compared to 105 households a year earlier (figures for West Somerset district are not published due to low or zero return): www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-february-2015
The cap on the maximum amount of housing benefit a household can receive was introduced in April 2013, since when the figure peaked in Somerset at 113 households (in January 2014). As at February 2015, around 9 out of 10 capped households contained four or more children.
Nearly half (49%) of benefit capped households nationally are located in London.
9. Indices of Deprivation 2015
The publication of the English Indices of Deprivation 2015 (and associated Index of Multiple Deprivation, IMD) - the official measure of relative local deprivation within England - has now been delayed until September 2015. It was provisionally timetabled for publication in July. This will represent the first update of the deprivation indices since 2011.
10. Public Health England webinars
Public Health England in the South West are running a series of free online ‘webinars’ over the coming months on a number of key topics, including: health needs in the elderly population; tobacco control; mental health; and health economics. Each webinar will last no more than an hour. For further details, see:
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during June:
- Local authority health profiles: 2015 annual release (PHE)
- Local Alcohol Profiles for England: 2015 annual data update (PHE)
- Local area walking and cycling in England: 2013 to 2014 (DfT)
- Traveller caravan count: January 2015 (DCLG)
- Statutory homelessness statistics: 2014/15 (DCLG)
- Universal Credit: Apr 2013 to Jun 2015 (experimental) (DWP)
- Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2015 (DfE)
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