Heating versus health: 2,000 died last year due to cold homes

28th November 2014

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Over 2,000 people died last year as a result of living in a cold home as the decision between heating and eating hits households.

Rising energy bills have placed a strain on household incomes, notably older people who may be living on a set income that is not increasing in line with inflation let alone the cost of heating their home.

Consumer watchdog Which? has calculated annual spending on gas and electricity has shot up 52% above inflation in less than 10 years and consumers are paying £410 more a year for energy compared to a decade ago.

The impact of the increases is clear to see from the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. It estimates that 2,111 – or 11% – of the 18,200 excess winter deaths in England and Wales during 2013/14 were caused by living in a cold home.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: ‘Today’s figures are shocking and clearly illustrate that fuel poverty remains a serious problem for many. It’s totally unacceptable that people are feeling forced to choose between their health and being able to afford energy.’

Research by uSwitch.com showed 15 million households are planning to ration energy this winter to try and stave off sky-high bills.

‘Alarming, over a third who cut back last year said it had compromised their health or quality of life,’ said Robinson. ‘Wholesale energy costs continue to fall and so energy companies must now do all they can to lower prices and make a real difference to those in greatest need.’

 

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