A request was made to the lab to provide some data to support research into appropriate areas of Trafford to focus on reaching vulnerable residents who are most likely to benefit from additional services and advice made available from the ‘Warm Homes, Healthy People’ project. The priority of the project is to ensure that the needs of Trafford’s most vulnerable residents are met, both physically by keeping them warm and fed over the winter months but also to avoid isolation by encouraging emotional support and wellbeing. In order to formulate a strategy we must first identify small areas for concentrated attention, ideally specific streets or estates.
We have two main datasets available to support the initial investigations, firstly the geographical data provided nationally by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on households classified as fuel poor and secondly a dataset provided by Trafford Assist on the number of applications made to the council for support with gas and electric payments. Ideally it would be preferable to include local data on excess winter deaths but unfortunately this data is not currently available to us at the point of writing this blog.
Fuel Poor Households
The coefficient for calculating fuel poverty has recently been refined in an attempt to improve its accuracy, with a drawback that we only have data coving periods 2011 and 2012 with which to draw conclusions. For definitions of the fuel poverty coefficient please visit here.
I extracted and updated the fuel poverty indicators and added them to the InfoTrafford server. I was then able to produce an interactive report which geographically maps the data and allows for correlation analysis between 2011/12 and also other available datasets. I mapped to a variety of geographical layers including borough wide, political ward boundaries, middle layer super output areas (MSOAs) and lower layer super output areas (LSOAs) and was also able to aggregate ward level data to fit with our own Trafford Locality boundaries.
When looking at ward and locality level data it’s clear that there are significant differences in the proportion of households classified as fuel poor between the North and South of Trafford with the highest density around Clifford and Longford Wards. For the purposes of identifying smaller areas I began to look at the LSOA geography, which for the most part supports the findings of the wider areas. There are LSOAs within Clifford and Longford that have a notably lower proportion of fuel poor than their neighbours which is affecting the overall rate of the ward.
It is also worthwhile looking at the rate changes over time; albeit only for the two years we have available to us.
It seems the areas with statistically significant increases align to what we know are the areas where deprivation is prevalent in Trafford, including LSOAs in Partington, Sale West, Sale, Broadheath and Broomwood.
Trafford Assist provide emergency help in the form of food, furniture and energy bills for Trafford residents who are struggling to meet their basic needs to remain healthy. Any household are permitted to request emergency assistance to a maximum of two applications a year, with a provisional additional allowance of one claim between November and February. The following map shows the number of claimants for the purposes of assistance with energy bills during 2013 financial year. Small numbers have been supressed.
The interactive report is available at:
There are large areas of Clifford, Longford and Stretford which have consistently high numbers of fuel poor households, though some of Trafford’s more deprived areas outside of these areas have also seen notable increase since 2011 though it would be unwise to build trends base on just two years of data. With each year’s addition it may be possible to build these trends. Those areas with higher numbers of households actively seeking assistance do not align entirely with the story told by the fuel poverty indicators, particularly in the Clifford areas where there are very low numbers of emergency help applications for the number of fuel poor households. Instead the higher number of claimants are around deprived areas where we are seeing a rise in fuel poverty including Partington, Sale West, Broomwood and Stretford.
The Warm Homes, Healthy People project have decided to adopt an borough-wide approach by focussing on the highlighted areas of high fuel poverty as well as pinpointing other areas throughout the borough where early escalating trends could be improved.