Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has described today’s latest excess winter death figures amongst the elderly as a “national scandal” and a wake-up call for the government.
The provisional figures show there were 31,100 deaths between December 2012 and March 2013 from cold related illnesses – a massive 29% increase equal to 260 deaths per day.
The NPC points out that the cold claims more lives in UK than in Sweden where temperatures regularly plunge to -30C in winter & sometimes to -53C. As a proportion, excess winter deaths accounted for 4.61% of all UK deaths, compared with 3.76% in Sweden.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “This is a national scandal which the government seems incapable of doing anything about. Making sure older people have got a well insulated warm home and the income to pay the fuel bills isn’t green crap. It’s what a decent society should do. How can colder Scandinavian countries avoid this annual toll while we simply wring our hands? The government needs to roll out a more effective programme to insulate homes, build more suitable properties for older people, raise the winter fuel allowance and tackle the excessive profits of the big six energy companies.”
The NPC is calling on supporters to inundate energy secretary Ed Davey with emails and letters on the issue over the next few days. The NPC is also staging a lobby of Parliament tomorrow (November 27) which will also raise concerns over fuel poverty with MPs.