New indicators on regional progress towards sustainable development

An update of 46 measures of regional progress towards sustainable development in England was published on 25 February 2010 by Government statisticians in Defra.

The indicators help provide an overview of economic, social and environmental issues in each English region.

Here are the West Midlands highlights:

The proportion of new dwellings built on previously developed land was higher than the national average and vehicle related theft was lower than the national average in the West Midlands. The West Midlands had seen the largest percentage decrease in the number of people reported killed or seriously injured in road accidents.

The rate of violent crime was highest in the West Midlands.  Infant mortality was the highest of all regions. The proportion of households experiencing fuel poverty was amongst the highest of the regions.

Source: Defra news release 25 February 2010 [link no longer available]

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How is the Black Country performing?

Map showing the number of workless people by lower super output area in the Black Country in May 2008

Map showing levels of worklessness in the Black Country May 2008 (click map to view at full size)

How can we tell whether real progress is being made towards achievement of the Black Country’s aspirations?

The aspirations are set out in the Black Country Vision and the  Black Country Strategy for Growth and Competitiveness.

The answer may lie in the newly developed Black Country performance management framework, which consists of 24 key indicators that measure achievement of the Black Country Strategy.

Supporting maps for each indicator are available on Black Country Knowledge (registration required).

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What is ‘worklessness’?

question-mark‘Worklessness’ is a fairly new term that is starting to be used and heard more frequently but what does it mean? Is it just a different word for unemployment?

The answer is that worklessness is not the same as unemployment but there are several different definitions of worklessness.

In the national indicator set of 198 indicators for Local Authorities, the indicator on worklessness (NI 152) looks at the proportion of the working age population who are claiming an out-of-work benefit—either Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefits, Income Support for lone parents or other income related benefits.

Other groups have defined workless people as those who are out of work but would like to work.

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Local Area Agreements: The next generation

In June 2008, 150 new Local Area Agreements (LAA) were signed off by central government. A Local Area Agreement is a three year agreement, based on local Sustainable Community Strategies, that sets out the priorities for a local area.

The 14 strategic authorities in the West Midlands each have a Local Area Agreement.

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