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The Cost of Cold

Published on 14 January 2022 11:04 AM

Concern is rising that increasing energy prices and winter temperatures could force older people to ration their heating or cut back on hot meals this winter.

The Cost of Cold campaign urges the Government to help those who are most in need over the coming months and we have joined with our national partner, Age UK, who is calling for?

  • The Government to cut the 5% rate of VAT from all households’ energy bills from April until at least the end of 2022.
  • The Government to provide a one-off payment of £500 to everyone eligible for the Cold Weather Payment.

You can join the campaign and sign the open letter to the Prime Minister HERE

Full details about the National campaign are below, but we know through our own services that local older people are suffering. Below is Leonard, talking to ITV Anglia News about his concern:

Age UK Press Release:

An estimated 150,000 older households are likely to be plunged into fuel poverty this winter because of soaring energy prices, according to new analysis by Age UK.

The Charity has issued a stark warning that the number of fuel poor older households could reach over 1.1 MILLION by the spring unless the Government takes urgent action.

With around one million older households already living in fuel poverty and tens of thousands more teetering on the brink, the Charity is extremely concerned that rising energy prices and living costs will lead to some of the poorest pensioners rationing their heating this winter in order to afford higher energy bills. 

Age UK believes that rising inflation and escalating prices are now threatening the standard of living of many pensioners on low incomes, creating uncertainty and anxiety as winter begins to bite.  Part of the problem is that many older people are living in hard to heat, older homes and, as a result, often need use a lot of energy just to stay warm.  

The cold can be dangerous for older people, especially those with pre-existing health conditions.  Older people tend to feel the cold more than younger people, as it is harder for them to regulate and maintain body temperatures. Low temperatures can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in an older person, exacerbate lung conditions and worsen arthritis. Living in a cold home can also undermine an older person’s mental health, contributing to anxiety, depression and loneliness. 

Extra support such as Cold Weather Payments and the Warm Home Discount Scheme are vital tools in the fuel poverty armoury for those on a low income, yet they fail to reach many of those who need them the most because they are not claiming Pension Credit. This crucial benefit opens the door to these and many other benefits, but nearly a million (920,000) pensioner households are missing out on Pension Credit payments worth up to £1.6 billion every year – that’s an average of £32 a week, or over £1,600 a year, per recipient going begging. 


Here at Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough we can help local older people to access funding and provide support. Please contact our Helpline on 0300 666 9860 or email

For more information please see the links below.

Age UK National Campaign

The Cost of Cold

Household Support Fund

Local Money available to help with heating and food provision

How can we support you?

Take a look at Our Services and contact us

The Cost of Cold Report

Research by Age UK, national charity