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The Cost of Cold

Over a million older households are facing a long, bleak winter.

As energy prices continue to surge and the cold weather sets in, many older people will be making the choice between heating and eating.

We can’t let a situation arise where people are so worried about rising bills that they put their health at risk by not keeping their homes warm enough, or cutting back on hot meals.

With a million older households already living in fuel poverty and 150,000 more set to join them over the coming months, we’re urging the Government to take urgent action to help older people stay warm and well through this winter.

Help protect older people from unaffordable energy bills

What is Age UK calling for?

  • A one-off payment of £50 this winter for everyone eligible for the Cold Weather Payment. We’re also calling for Cold Weather Payments to be paid no later than 7 days after a period of cold weather
  • Double the Household Support Fund to £1bn
  • Ensure the energy price cap is enshrined in law, and then move to re-introduce a social tariff into the energy market
  • Ensure everyone who is eligible receives the benefits they’re entitled to. These can help protect an older person from entering fuel poverty.

Worried about your energy bills? There may be help available.

I’m turning all radiators off in rooms I don’t use. I’m terminally ill and feel the cold but can’t afford the heating.


I have arthritis which is worse when it is cold. I will have to keep my heating low now. Already I wear gloves on my hands and a heat pack inside my leggings to help my back.


Worried about your energy bills?

Rising fuel bills are a big concern for many people right now, but there is support available. Before you turn your heating down or off altogether, please call Age UK’s Advice Line to check if you are receiving all the financial help you’re eligible for. Lots of people don’t realise they’re entitled to extra money, which can really help with bills.

For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602. We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

Your energy supplier must offer support if you’re struggling with bills or debt. To lighten the burden, you can get in touch with them and ask to go onto an affordable repayment plan.

And remember, your top priority should be keeping warm and well, so please do not put your health at risk by rationing your heating beyond what feels comfortable. Our information guide Winter Wrapped Up has advice on how to stay warm.

What extra money are you entitled to?

Our benefits calculator can show what financial support you might be owed.

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Last updated: Dec 07 2021

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