West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper pledges to help end misery of cold homes in North West. The most recent Excess Winter Death figures have just been released and show that 4,510 people in the North West died needlessly of the cold last winter, an increase of 20.5% on last year.
The Warm and Safe Homes (WASH) campaign aims to highlight the desperate and unsafe coping strategies being adopted across the UK due to the misery of living in fuel poverty. The charity says it rejects the idea this should be normal in a country as wealthy as the UK and much more can be done to end fuel poverty and ‘preventable’ excess winter deaths and ill health.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I am backing NEA’s Warm and Safe Homes Campaign to fight fuel poverty this winter. It is an important issue that we simply cannot ignore here in West Lancashire or across the country.
“Living in a cold home can lead to problems for families and many others including ill health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long-term sickness and disabilities.”
New evidence provided by frontline workers to fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), has revealed the top 10 unsafe fuel poverty coping strategies being used to survive winter. The regular use of older, dangerous or un-serviced heating appliances is common-place, despite being potentially fatal or leading to heightened risks for nearby neighbours as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning or in extreme situations, fires and explosions. People struggling to heat their homes are also spending their days in heated spaces such as libraries, cafes or even A&E to avoid the cold.
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of National Energy Action commented:
“The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just released the number of excess winter deaths in England for last winter. Sadly, the statistics have jumped for the second year in a row.
“Behind those figures will be countless other depressing and dangerous ways in which people try to fend off the effects of living in a cold home. We all know that people regularly cut back on their energy use and rely on food banks to get by during winter.
“But in a modern country like Britain people are even barbequing in sinks, going to bed early to keep warm and permanently using candles for lighting. Frontline workers have also told us they regularly see dangerous appliances being used, ventilation blocked off and people spending days in A&E and libraries just to keep warm.
“Further evidence from energy suppliers highlights that over 150,000 cases of energy theft were uncovered last year, many of those causing death or major injury, not just to the culprits but innocent neighbours and passers-by.”
MP Rosie added:
“I hope to help NEA shine a light on the desperate and unsafe coping strategies being used by the most vulnerable across the UK this winter. In the UK today, there should be no need for these practices.
“Cold homes, and the misery and ill health they create need to be eradicated, especially for the most vulnerable in our society. We know the causes, the consequences and the cures but we risk neglecting millions of people that could be helped with immediate and practical solutions.”
To learn more about the plan and the Warm and Safe Homes Campaign visit www.nea.org.uk
- NEA is an independent charity working to protect low-income and vulnerable households from fuel poverty and exclusion in the energy market. NEA has a network of offices throughout England and also has national offices in Cardiff and Belfast which also work to support deprived communities and low-income energy consumers in Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.
- NEA works to influence and increase strategic action against fuel poverty at a national level through its policy, research and campaigning functions. The charity similarly works with partners from industry, government and the third sector to deliver practical solutions to UK households – improving access to energy advice, energy efficiency products and other related services for vulnerable consumers. NEA believes that radically improving the fabric and heating of homes represents the most cost effective long-term solution for tackling high energy bills and helping to eradicate fuel poverty. NEA also provides the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency Group, which was first established in 1995 as the Parliamentary Warm Homes Group, to raise awareness of the problem of fuel poverty and the policies needed to eradicate it.
- The Warm and Safe Homes (WASH) campaign is NEA’s annual winter initiative (formerly the Warm Homes Campaign), focusing on the need for people to be able to stay warm in their homes. The campaign raises awareness amongst both politicians and members of the public of the problem of fuel poverty and the action needed to be taken at a policy level; as well as the help and support available locally for those struggling to heat their homes. It also highlights key messages around gas and electricity safety in the home. For more information about the WASH campaign visit: https://www.nea.org.uk/campaigns-policy/wash-2018/
- In total 60 respondents completed the Warm and Safe Homes questionnaire. Respondents represented a range of organisations, the most common of which was the not-for-profit/third-sector with 15 respondents, followed by 12 respondents from local authorities. A further 3 respondents were from the housing sector and two represented the energy sector (other). The following sectors had one respondent respectively: Private manufacturers, consultancy organisations, GDNs, private energy suppliers.
- Full ONS data release: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/2017to2018provisionaland2016to2017final