SINePost newsletter - June 2022
Published: 1 June 2022 Author:
In this issue:
- Food bank usage
- Active Lives Survey results
- Universal Credit claimants
- Dwelling stock statistics
- Crime statistics
- Fuel Poverty estimates
- House price statistics for small areas
- Housing affordability estimates
- Child benefit statistics
- Bus passenger journey statistics
- Census 2021 results
1. Food bank usage
The Trussell Trust has reported a 14% decrease in the number of food parcels it distributed in the South West region in the 2021/22 financial year compared to 2020/21. However, due to the impacts of COVID-19, 2020/21 was an exceptional year for foodbank usage, and the latest figure remains 7% higher than the pre-pandemic figure for 2019/20.
During 2021/22, the Trust distributed a total of 174,805 emergency food supplies to people in the region, of which 61% went to adults and 39% to children. The Trussell Trust operates seven foodbanks within Somerset. Locally, Trussell Trust foodbanks in Somerset West and Taunton distributed 6,815 emergency food supplies during 2021/22, whilst in Sedgemoor the figure was 8,087. These figures both represent a decrease from the exceptionally high figures in 2020/21 but remain above pre-pandemic levels.
The Trussell Trust estimates that their network of foodbanks accounts for approximately two-thirds of all foodbank provision in the country.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/
2. Active Lives Survey results
An estimated 62% of adults (aged 16+) in Somerset are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, according to latest results from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey. The report covers the period November 2020 to November 2021. The latest estimate for Somerset represents a small decrease from a rate of 65% for previous 12-month period, although this wouldn’t be considered statistically significant. Somerset residents are broadly in line with the national rate of 61.4% meeting the recommended 150 minutes.
At a district level, rates are highest in Somerset West and Taunton (66.3%) and lowest in Sedgemoor (57%).
At the other end of the scale, 25.5% of adults in Somerset are classed as ‘inactive’ – that is, doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Inactivity ranges from 22.8% in Somerset West to 32.1% in Sedgemoor. Again, the change from the previous 12-month period was not statistically significant.
The national report and the data tables can be accessed from Sport England, at: https://www.sportengland.org/know-your-audience/data/active-lives
3. Universal Credit claimants
Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show the number of Universal Credit claimants in Somerset fell for the fourteenth consecutive month in April 2022. There were a total of 8,795 claimants in April, 5% lower than the March figure.
The latest figure remains significantly higher that the pre pandemic figure of 7,370 in March 2020 but lower than the peak figure of 16,935 in August 2020.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports//
4. Dwelling stock statistics
The number of domestic dwellings in Somerset increased by 2,077 to a total of 260,735 in the 12 months to April 2020 according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is the smallest number of new dwellings recorded since the year to April 2014.
The biggest increase was seen in South Somerset district with 659 new dwellings, followed by Sedgemoor (544), Somerset West and Taunton (487), and Mendip (512).
Approximately 68% of dwellings in Somerset are owned either outright or with a mortgage, 18% are rented privately, and 14% are rented by the public sector.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/
5. Crime statistics
There were 37,139 recorded crimes in Somerset in the year to December 2021 according to the latest crime data from the Office for National Statistics. This represents a rate of 66 crimes per 1,000 residents in Somerset. For comparison, crime rates in the wider Avon and Somerset Constabulary area range from 57 per 1,000 residents in South Gloucestershire to 111 per 1,000 in the City of Bristol.
The 2021 figure shows an increase of 4% from the previous year’s figure of 35,781, although it should be kept in mind that figures for both years may be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The biggest increases from the previous 12 months were in sexual offences – which increased by 27%. Meanwhile burglary offences decreased by 27%.
As always with police recorded crime statistics it must be kept in mind that statistics may be influenced by changes in recording practices, police activity, and public propensity to report crimes. Changes in reported crime levels therefore do not necessarily indicate a change in levels of criminal behaviour.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/
6. Fuel poverty estimates
The number of Somerset households living in fuel poverty has increased according to the latest estimates from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. The estimate of 27,020 fuel-poor households for 2020 represents an increase of 1,631 from the previous year’s figure and is a rate of 11.3% of all households. Rates of fuel poverty in Somerset are below the national rate of 13.2% of households and marginally below the South West regional figure of 11.4%.
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.
Within Somerset, Somerset West & Taunton district was estimated to have the highest rate of fuel poverty with 11.5% of household, whereas Mendip was the lowest with 11.1% of households.
Rates of fuel poverty vary considerably at local level, with the highest rates of fuel poverty found in areas of deprivation and in rural areas. The Roman Road area of Taunton was estimated to have a fuel poverty rate of 31.6% in 2020, whilst the Lambrook area of Taunton, Bridgwater Hamp East and Kendale Road, and Yeovil Westfield were all estimated to have a rate of fuel poverty greater than 20%.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-data-2022
7. House price statistics for small areas
The Office for National Statistics has published latest ‘small area’ statistics on house prices and sales, for the 12 months to September 2021. The small area data covers electoral wards, Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and Middle-layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs).
At MSOA level (small areas typically comprising around 3,000 households), the median price paid for a residential property in the year to September 2021 ranged from £157,000 in Yeovil Town Centre (based on 119 sales) to £520,000 in Pilton, Butleigh and Alhampton in Mendip area (based on 95 sales).
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/bulletins/housepricestatisticsforsmallareas/
8. Housing affordability estimates
The latest house price affordability estimates from the Office for National Statistics show that relative to earnings, house prices in Somerset remain high. The ratio of median house price to median gross annual earnings provides a measure of how affordable it is to get on the property ladder.
On average, full time workers in Somerset in 2021 could expect to pay 9.3 times their annual workplace-based earnings on purchasing a home. This is the highest figure since the time series began in 1997. The figure for Somerset remains higher than the national ratio of 7.85, and marginally lower than the South West regional ratio of 9.86.
The latest increase represents the greatest single year change in affordability since 2003.
At District level, the affordability ratio ranged from 8.47 in Somerset West & Taunton to 10.83 in Mendip.
The analysis uses earnings data based on ‘place of work’ rather than ‘place of residence’ to indicate the extent to which employees can afford to live where they work.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/
9. Child Benefit statistics
Figures released by HM Revenue & Customs show that there were 100,170 children (aged 0-19) in Somerset for which Child Benefit was being received in August 2021. An additional 6,070 children had been ‘opted out’ due to the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HIBC).
Of the families in Somerset receiving Child Benefit, 47% are currently one-child families; 39% have two children; and 14% have three or more children.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-benefit-statistics-annual-release-august-2021
10. Bus passenger journey statistics
Numbers of passenger journeys on local bus services in Somerset declined to an estimated 1.3 million in 2020/21, in figures published by the Department for Transport. Coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure represents a 78% decrease from the previous year’s figure.
At 2.4 journeys per head of population in 2020/21, Somerset continues to have the lowest rate of local bus passenger journeys in the South West region. The rate is also the 2nd lowest of any local authority in England, with only Rutland having a lower rate per head of population. In the South West region there were 12.4 passenger journeys per head of population in 2020/21.
For the full dataset, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/bus01-local-bus-passenger-journeys
11. Census 2021 results
The Office for National Statistics have announced that the first reults from the 2021 Census will be released on 28th June. The initial release will be of population and household estimates with more detailed results to be released over the coming months. We will publish information and analysis as soon as possible following the release.
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