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About the SE

The South East has huge potential but also significant challenges.  There is a need for more devolved powers and investment to ensure we continue to prosper not only for the benefit of our local communities & businesses, but also the national economy.

Whilst the South East is still performing relatively well on some key economic indicators, SEEC’s Data Dashboard still shows high absolute levels of:

  • Unemployment claimants – 60,830 people (March 2016)
  • Deprivation – 909,000 young/old people in income deprivation, and relative increases in deprivation compared to rest of England (Index of Multiple Deprivation 2015)
  • No qualifications – 343,000 people lack any formal qualifications (2015)

The absolute scale of the challenges is masked if only looking at percentages.

We have the UK’s largest population at 9m (2016), projected to grow to 10.5m by 2039. This includes:

  • Especially high growth in older people, eg 90% more 75+ year olds between 2015-2039, rising from 790,000 to 1.5m –  a ‘timebomb’ that needs planning for.
  • And significant levels of net international migration – second only to London. Although often economically important, migration also brings implications for public service delivery/resourcing.

We’re still building the most homes in England, with a net increase of 28,360 in 2014-15. However this is below the 30,000 pa peak in 2007-08.

  • Some 4,850 affordable homes were built in the South East in 2014-15, but this low level of delivery is a concern, considering parts of the South East are some of the UK’s highest cost housing areas.

South East local authorities continue to have concerns about a funding deficit, particularly for infrastructure, and the fact that many Government grants do not reflect absolute numbers of population and so leave the South East underfunded.

  • There are positive signs of change in the Government’s approach through funding sources such as New Homes Bonus & Growing Places Fund better reflect real levels of need.

In 2015-16 the South East received England’s lowest revenue settlement and grants from Government at £279 per head. This is £329 per head less than the North East.  The low levels of funding from central Government means  that council tax payers in the South East are paying more towards council services than residents in other parts of the country.

This has been a long standing funding deficit as shown by earlier SEEC work. In 2012 SEEC published research showing  South East formula Grant Funding was well below average – by some £185 per person pa. Implications were evidenced in SEEC’s ‘Fixing a Broken System’ report.  The South East also receives only small proportions of EU and other funding such as the Regional Growth Fund.

For more information see SEEC’s Data Dashboard.