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Fuel Poverty claims 2,700 lives a year

posted by Susanna Olai on 17 November 2011

tags: fuel poverty , affordable warmth ,

Living in a cold home is not only a question of great discomfort, but more importantly it also has a serious negative impact on mental health and illness.

The recently published report ‘Fuel Poverty: The problem and its measurement’ by John Hills found that fuel poverty makes a considerable contribution to Britain’s unusually high rates of ‘excess winter deaths’.

The report establishes that there are a number of contributors to the problem of ‘excess winter deaths’, but suggests that if only a tenth can be attributed to fuel poverty, that would mean 2,700 deaths in England and Wales every year. That is a larger number than is killed in traffic accidents over the same period.

The urgency of this issue has now increased. The number of people in fuel poverty is set to rise as a result of the colder weather and the dramatic increase in the cost of heating our homes. Installing cavity wall and loft insulation is a low cost measure to assist those in fuel poverty, in addition to increasing comfort for all householders, improving the housing stock and reducing carbon emissions.

A number of local authorities make additional grants available to assist their residents. Grants are available through the Cocoon Service, and in addition the local authorities in Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are funding an advice network to further assist their vulnerable residents.

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