Source : Age UK
Published on 16 May 2013 01:30 PM
'Worryingly, these latest figures show that the number of households in fuel poverty has remained stubbornly high. It is unacceptable that 4.5 million homes in the UK and 3.2 million in England are still struggling to pay for their electricity and gas – many of them older people who are particularly vulnerable to the cold.
'While the Government’s new Warm Homes Discount which is automatically paid to those on pension credit has clearly had an impact on cutting fuel poverty, it’s not enough.
'Behind today’s statistics lie many stories of real human suffering as people face the misery of not being able to afford to keep adequately warm. Cold homes pose a serious risk to people's health, increasing costs to health and care services to treat worsened cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and contribute to the high numbers of older people we see dying over the cold winter months in the UK.
'Domestic energy prices have doubled since 2005, and the Government’s fuel poverty strategy has simply failed to keep up.
'The solution to fuel poverty has to be in making our homes more energy efficient so we get real benefit from the fuel we use. Yet in the last few months, the only tax-funded fuel poverty programme in England has been wound up, and we are now into unknown territory with the Green Deal.
'We now have a new tax on carbon emissions which is ultimately paid for by all energy consumers: it is high time the Government recycled the revenue that it raises into a vigorous home improvement programme to help households in fuel poverty save energy and keep warm.'
For a free copy of Age UK’s Winter Wrapped Up guide call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 6565 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk to download a copy.
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Media contact: Mallary Gelb
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Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group (“we”). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).
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We have a number of experts available for comment, including:
Caroline Abrahams is Age UK’s Charity Director, and has worked predominantly on children and family issues throughout her career.
She was Director of Policy and Strategy at the children’s charity Action for Children and Chair of the End Child Poverty campaign before joining the Local Government Association.
She then moved on to become Senior Policy Adviser in the Department for Children, Schools and Families and more recently she has been an adviser to the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls.
Her policy interests include poverty, public service reform and safeguarding.
James is head of our research department in Age UK.
His responsibilities include:
He has a Visiting Professorship in Ageing at Loughborough University.
Jane Vass is Head of Public Policy at Age UK. She joined Age Concern England as Financial Services Policy Adviser in 2006.
She was previously an independent consumer consultant and writer specialising in financial services from the consumer viewpoint.
In this capacity she undertook research such as reports for the National Consumer Council on equity release and on savings and investments for low-income consumers.
She was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from 1999 to 2003, and from 1983 to 1993 she worked for Consumers’ Association.
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