24,000 winter deaths as fuel poverty hits

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Heating or eating? Given sky-high energy prices, that's the choice many Britons are forced to make: across the UK it's thought there were 24,000 extra deaths last winter.

It's difficult to know how many of those were because of freezing homes. But many of these deaths were preventable. Government cuts look to be part-blamed.


Fuel help cut

The Association of the Conservation of Energy (ACE) claims the amount of government cash given to people living in so-called 'fuel poverty' - any household which spends more than 10% of their income on energy bills - has been slashed by 25% in the last three years.

Cash received by the 'fuel poor' in England has been cut by 26% between 2009 and 2013, taking into account all the Government's new policies. "The fuel poverty budget has been slashed, gas prices are going up whilst Chancellor Osborne has pocketed every penny of carbon tax," adds Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution alliance campaign.

Toxic

"This is despite the fact there is enough carbon tax revenue to end fuel poverty forever. That is a toxic combination which will bring untold misery to millions of households across the UK."

Meanwhile energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor in England has been cut by 44% claims Matthew. "This has raised particular concern because energy efficiency improvements are considered the best long term solution to end fuel poverty."

Another issue is the often poor quality of UK housing stock: many people who are renting live in poorly insulated homes, often let out by landlords with little interest in making sure their property is energy efficient for tenants.

Many older people who are not living with fuel poverty are, also, in real terms, very close to it, due to a double whammy of spiralling energy and food prices.

9m Britons face fuel poverty by 2016?

Roll back to 1988. Then, the UK median household spent just 5% per cent of its income on fuel. Energy Bill Revolution predicts that if energy prices rise as much as Government anticipates, there could be as many as nine million UK households in so-called 'fuel poverty' across the UK by 2016.

Currently the Department of Energy and Climate Change thinks there are 3.9 million households in fuel poverty in England alone. So, how seriously does the Coalition take fuel poverty in reality? Feel free to reach your own conclusions.

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