Reports detailing the increasing deaths amongst the elderly from freezing, added to increasing domestic energy prices, mean calls for a change in UK spending must be made. Alex Blackburne tells us more.
Every year 2,700 people die because they’re unable to keep themselves warm during winter.
At the same time, domestic energy prices are on the rise, with the average household’s annual energy expenditure now well over £1,000.
But how has it come to this?
The UK boasts the sixth largest economy in the world, yet many of our elderly still have to make the unenviable choice between staying warm or eating, purely because they can’t afford to do both.
In 2011, there are over 5.5 million homes in England in so-called fuel poverty, as detailed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Centre for Sustainable Energy – a figure which has increased by over 400% since 2003.
However, in order to combat the shocking rising figures, the Department of Health has announced that an extra £30 million will be available in order to keep homes warm this winter.
Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, said, “We want everyone to get ready for winter and be prepared before temperatures drop.
“Being cold in your own home can be miserable and impacts on your health. We cannot look at health in isolation. We must look at the bigger picture, which is why I am making £30 million available to help keep homes warm.
“Every year, there is a 20% increase in deaths in the winter in England. By working together, this coordinated plan will help protect those most in need, we are determined to do all we can to achieve this.”
Despite a call for cheaper, cleaner, more easily-accessible energy for the wider population has never been greater, the elderly still struggle to survive each winter.
Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will submit a final report to the DECC in January 2012, which will address the issue, with suggestions about wiser UK spending expected to lead his proposal.
Picture source: Bob Bob