Cold homes misery for UK residents
Published on 05 September 2013 11:30 AM
Thousands of people are struggling to heat their homes due to rising energy prices, while many are worried about how they'll cope this winter.
New research reveals that a quarter of the UK population have had to put up with 'unacceptably cold temperatures' so far in 2013.
Of the 1,035 adults polled for BBC Radio Five Live, a third admitted concern about paying for their heating bills when the freezing weather sets in at the end of the year.
Ever increasing gas and electricity prices are the reason behind people's misery, with just over three-quarters claiming the cost of energy is set unfairly.
Older members of society are particularly vulnerable to fuel poverty, which in turn is putting their health at risk. Many people in their retirement years don't have enough money coming in to pay large heating bills.
The survey also reveals that the vast majority of the UK population believe that renewable energy is the way forward if heating costs are going to come down.
Some 84% are in favour of more solar panels in the area where they live, while 67% would welcome the introduction of windfarms.
But despite this desire to go green, poor take-up of the Government's flagship energy programme has sparked widespread criticism.
Criticism of the The Green Deal
The Green Deal is designed to allow energy-saving improvements to be made to homes without having to pay the costs upfront, yet only 132 deals have been agreed to date, even though some 58,000 assessments have been carried out on homes.
Energy secretary Ed Davey blames Labour's failure to invest in energy for the 'massive cost pressure' on bills.
'With our emphasis on competition, on helping vulnerable consumers directly and with our energy efficiency policies, the coalition is delivering in difficult times for people, when Labour failed to deliver in easy times,' he said.
But while a large number of people have thrown their support behind renewable energy, others see more controversial avenues as the answer to cutting energy bills.
Some 33%, for example, support the hotly debated method of fracking, increasing to 48% if the community was compensated.
In addition, 47% would support nuclear power and 67% would support more coal, oil and gas stations being built in the UK if it brought energy prices down, suggesting the importance of reducing energy prices for households.
24,000 older people die needlessly every winter
Age UK's Charity Director General, Michelle Mitchell, said: 'Every winter 24,000 older people die needlessly because of the cold and at the root of many of these deaths are cold, badly insulated homes. Yet with energy prices continuing to spiral upwards, huge numbers of older people cannot afford to adequately heat their home and every year without fail we hear horror stories of people's struggles to keep warm in the depths of winter.
'This is an escalating crisis that will not disappear without urgent action. The government must invest in a major energy efficiency programme to bring Britain's housing stock into the 21st century and insulate people against high energy prices.'
Copyright Press Association 2013