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The Story of Bath and North East Somerset: In Data - Republished

The B&NES Strategic Evidence Base is an evolving document with updates made on an ongoing basis. As such, B&NES Council are pleased to advise that the SEB has now been republished. A summary of the key findings is detailed below, and the republished full report can be found here:

These documents are designed to be used to support decision making and strategic planning across the area, and may be of great use to those making funding applications. This information can be used to support and strengthen applications.

This useful resource provides detailed insight into areas such as population, health, inequality, growth, emissions and housing

The key themes updated as part of this republication are:

  • Economy (building on the content published in July)

  • Mortality

  • Housing – in particular Homelessness

  • Environmental Protection

There is also a feedback form where you can provide comments on the SEB:

Strategic Evidence Base Key Findings: November 2023

Economic Growth/Productivity

  • Economic growth in B&NES has not kept pace with England and West of England (11% vs 50%/55% respectively since 1998). Growth in B&NES is the lowest of all the local authorities in the West of England as well as amongst our statistical neighbours.

  • Economic growth since the global financial crisis (2008/9) has been particularly poor with B&NES not recovering as well as England or the West of England.

  • The B&NES economy is dominated by the service sector (accounting for 83% of GVA), as is the case nationally. Education and Health account for almost a third of the local service sector economy. These two sectors make up a higher proportion of the local economy compared to England.

  • Economic growth in B&NES since 1998 has been below national in all sectors except three: Accommodation & food services, Education and Other service sectors.

  • The strongest economic growth in B&NES has been in the Information & Communication sector. However, this is markedly lower than national and West of England growth (255% vs 748%/899%).

  • Productivity in B&NES is lower than England and the West of England with the gap widening over the past decade and growth stagnating in B&NES in recent years.

Business Demography/Skills

  • Business survival rates (1/3/5 year) have historically been higher in B&NES than England and the West of England and this trend has continued.

  • Statistics for 2019 indicate that businesses in B&NES would appear to have less skill-shortages and skills gaps compared to businesses nationally and in the West of England.


  • Historically, age-standardised mortality rates in England have been dropping, but the rate of improvement had been slowing. Mortality rates increased due to the pandemic and although they have since reduced, they are still above pre-pandemic levels. 

  • 2021 data shows that most mortality rates in B&NES (including premature and preventable) are statistically significantly lower than the rate for England.

  • The stillbirth rate for B&NES is roughly half that of England (2.3 and 3.9 per 1,000 births over the period 2020-2022). More recently the improvements seen in England and B&NES have stalled and England appears likely to miss its target of halving the stillbirth rate by 2025.

  • Premature deaths accounted for 25% of all deaths in B&NES between 2019 and 2021. In England, improvements in premature mortality rates are slowing the most in deprived areas.

  • Cancer and diseases of the circulatory system are the main causes of premature death. The risk factors of these are smoking and obesity, the rates of which are higher in more deprived areas.

  • Between 2018 and 2020 avoidable deaths accounted for 17% of all deaths in B&NES. The avoidable mortality rate in England was declining but has now increased due to Covid being classified as an avoidable death. In 2020, avoidable deaths in England were 50% higher for males compared to females, and the increase in avoidable mortality rate was greatest for those living in the most deprived areas. Deaths due to Covid-19 and drugs and alcohol were notably higher in the most deprived areas.

  • Suicides in B&NES stopped increasing and levelled off in the early 2010s. It is now similar to the England rate. The male suicide rate is three times higher than the female rate and suicides are most common in the 50-54 age band in B&NES.

  • The drug-poisoning mortality rate for B&NES is above the rate for England. It has been increasing since 2012, but early indications show the rate is now starting to drop again. In both B&NES and England & Wales, the mortality rate for drug poisoning in males is twice as high as the female rate.

Environmental Protection:

  • Air quality monitoring across B&NES has identified an overall reduction in air pollution between 2014-2022.

  • The 2022 monitoring data shows that nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5 ) pollution in B&NES is almost always within the acceptable levels set out by National Government, and that levels have changed very little since 2021.

  • Average 2022 annual NO 2 concentrations within the Bath Clean Air Zone (CAZ) were 26% lower than in 2019. 

  • The percentage of chargeable non-compliant vehicles entering the zone each week reduced from 6% in the launch week (15 March 2021) to an average of 1% by the end of 2022.

Housing (Homelessness):

  • There has been a 9% increase (510 households) in the number of houses on the waiting list for Social Housing (year to 31st March 2023), an increase from 5,482 to 5,992.

  • The rate of initial homelessness assessments in B&NES has seen an overall downwards trend since 2018/19. The rate in B&NES has been consistently lower than national, and this gap has widened over the last 5 years.

  • Whilst B&NES has seen lower than national rates for those assessed as at risk of homelessness and already homeless over the last 5 years, we have seen a notable increase in 2022/23.

  • The top reason for households at risk of homelessness (Prevention duties) in B&NES was end of private rented tenancy – assured shorthold. This trend can also be seen at a regional and national level.

  • As of March 2023 (published data), there were 58 households in B&NES in temporary accommodation, up from 39 in March 2022. More recent local data indicates a further notable increase in this figure, a trend also observed nationally.

Fuel Poverty:

  • The proportion of households in Fuel Poverty has increased from 11% (9,179 households) in 2020 to 12% (9,990 households) in 2021 and is expected to rise further given the current cost of living crisis. In 2021, over a third (36%) of LSOAs in B&NES had fuel poverty levels of 13% or above (the national average).

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