SINePost newsletter - May 2021
Published: 27 May 2021 Author:
In this issue:
- Active Lives Survey results
- Crime statistics
- Deaths from COVID-19
- Educational Attainment by age 19
- Dwelling stock statistics
- Road traffic statistics
- Internet user estimates
- Food bank usage
1. Active Lives Survey results
Activity levels of adults in Somerset remained largely unchanged for the year to November 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19. An estimated 65% 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 2019 to November 2020 including the first eight months of coronavirus restrictions from March 2020. The figures for Somerset are broadly unchanged from the previous 12-month period, whilst nationally a slight decrease in activity levels was recorded compared to the previous year. At a district level, rates are highest in South Somerset (68.6%) and lowest in Sedgemoor (59.5%). The national (England) average rate is 61.4%.
At the other end of the scale, 24% of adults in Somerset are classed as ‘inactive’ – that is, doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Inactivity ranges from 21.8% in South Somerset to 30.7% 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
2. Crime in England and Wales
There were 35,715 recorded crimes in Somerset in the year to December 2020 according to the latest crime data from the Office for National Statistics. This represents a rate of 64 crimes per 1,000 residents in Somerset. For comparison, crime rates in the wider Avon and Somerset Constabulary area range from 56 per 1,000 residents in South Gloucestershire to 106 per 1,000 in the City of Bristol.
The 2020 figure shows a decrease of 9.6% from the previous year’s figure of 39,509. The biggest changes from the previous 12 months were in theft offences – which decreased by 31%. Meanwhile possession of weapons offences increased by 23% and drug offences by 16%.
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/
3. Deaths from COVID-19
Latest data from the Office for National Statistics show that there were a total of 726 deaths in Somerset attributed to COVID-19 between March 2020 and April 2021. When standardised for age, this represents a rate of 82.2 deaths per 100,000 population. This is lower than the equivalent rate for the South West region (93.5 per 100,000 – the lowest of any region) and significantly lower than the figure for England and Wales of 181.5 per 100,000. Age standardised rates are commonly used to give an indication of the number of events that would occur in a standard population.
The month with the highest number of deaths was January 2021, with 190. Within Somerset, age standardised mortality rates attributed to COVID-19 were lowest in South Somerset (61.9) and highest in Mendip district (98.7). Data is also available at small area geographies (Mid-layer Super Output Areas). The small area in Somerset with highest number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is the area of Oakhill, Horrington and Chewton Mendip with 41 recorded deaths.
Data is from the ONS and can be downloaded from:
4. Educational Attainment by Age 19
Latest annual figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that overall educational attainment by the age of 19 in Somerset remained broadly unchanged in 2019/20, despite the impacts of COVID-19. The data records the attainment at age 19 of those who were in the mainstream state sector at the time of their final year of secondary school.
The pandemic saw the summer exam series cancelled in 2020. Pupils due to sit GCSE and A/AS level exams were awarded either a centre assessment grade or their calculated grade using a model developed by Ofqual – whichever was the higher of the two. Given the circumstances in which grades were awarded in 2020, caution should be taken in comparing 2019/20 figures to previous years.
At the end of the 2019/20 academic year:
The figures also show that the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils narrowed in 2019/20. The gap in level 2 attainment between those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and those not eligible for FSM was 23.5 percentage points (ppts) – down from 27 ppts in 2018/19. At level 3 the gap was 26.9 ppts, down from 29.5 ppts in 2018/19. For level 3 this was lowest attainment gap since the dataset begins in 2004/05.
For the full dataset, see:
5. Dwelling stock statistics
The number of domestic dwellings in Somerset increased by 2,164 to a total of 258,658 in the 12 months to Office for National Statistics has published latest ‘small area’ statistics on house prices and sales, for the 12 months to April 2019, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). 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 650 new dwellings, followed by Somerset West & Taunton (537), Mendip (512), and Sedgemoor (465).
Approximately 68% of dwellings 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:
6. Road traffic statistics
Newly published estimates from the Department for Transport (DfT) highlight the impact of COVID-19 on traffic volumes in Somerset. The volume of traffic on Somerset’s roads in 2020 was the lowest it has been since 2003 and was 22% lower than in 2019.
The estimates from the DfT show a total of 3,652 million vehicle miles were travelled in Somerset in 2020. The figure for 2019 was 4,704. Traffic volumes have risen steadily over the past decade, and 2020 is the first year to have seen a decrease in this period.
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions will have had a huge impact on these figures.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/road-traffic-statistics
7. Internet user estimates
An estimated 95% of adults in Somerset had used the internet in the previous three months according to latest annual figures from the Office for National Statistics. The estimates are based on the results of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) conducted between January and March 2020. Although the survey period touches upon the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2019, these figures cannot be used to identify changes to internet usage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 figure is the highest figure on record and shows an increase from 93% in 2019. Despite this, there remains an estimated 21,000 adults (aged 16 and over) in Somerset who had not used the internet over the previous three months.
The figure for Somerset compares favourably with the national figure of 92% and the South West regional figure of 93%. Nationally, estimates show that the proportion of those aged 75 years and over who are recent internet users has nearly doubled since 2013.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/
8. Food bank usage
The Trussell Trust has reported a 24% increase in the number of food parcels it distributed in the South West region in the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019/20. During 2020/21, the Trust distributed a total of 201,971 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 8,242 emergency food supplies during 2020/21, an increase of 29% on the previous year’s figure. In Sedgemoor the numbers of emergency food supplies increased by 18% to 9,162.
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/
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