Rise in winter deaths revealed
Published on 26 November 2013 02:30 PM
New figures released by the ONS today show that there were a shameful 31,100 excess winter deaths last year from cold-related illness such as heart attacks and strokes - up more than a quarter on the previous year.
The vast majority of these deaths were among older people, with 28,500 in the over 65 age group - a 29 per cent rise on the year before.
Worryingly there was an increase of 29 per cent in the 75+ age bracket (up from 19,890 to 25,600), and a 28 per cent increase in number of deaths among the over 85s (up from 13,160 to 16,900).
Cold weather 'claimed so many lives unnecessarily'
Responding to the figures, Age UK's Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, said: 'It should be a cause of national shame that last year's cold weather claimed so many lives unnecessarily.
'Excess winter deaths are preventable and today's figures are a damning indictment of our failure to address the scandal of cold homes in this country.
'Cold homes are caused by a number of factors including poor insulation and high energy costs, and are a major cause of excess winter deaths.
'In fact those living in the coldest homes are three times more likely to die a preventable death than those living in warmer ones.
'We strongly believe that the only sustainable solution is investment to increase the energy efficiency of our housing stock so cold homes become a thing of the past.
'The Chancellor must take urgent action on this in next week's Autumn Statement.'
Failure to address the scandal of cold homes
The charity is urging people to ‘Tell your MP we need warm homes'. Anyone who wants to add their voice to Age UK's campaign can visit www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk or call 0800 028 5535 to order a postcard to send to their MP.
During its annual Spread the Warmth Campaign, Age UK and its local and national partners will be working hard to help older people keep warm and well in a number of ways, including through winter benefit checks and handyperson services.
They will provide hot nutritious meals at local lunch clubs as well as home visits and friendly telephone calls through befriending services for those who may feel isolated.
Age UK also offers information and advice 365 days a year and older people and their families can call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 65 65.
Age UK is part of the Energy Bill Revolution, an alliance with over one hundred members, including Age UK, campaigning for warm homes and lower bills.
For further information, please visit www.energybillrevolution.org.