Kent Green Party notes that estimates for deaths from the cold during winter 2009-2010 stand at about 40,000 for the UK. This compares with about 36,700 last winter: the worst record of any industrialised state. Hospital admissions due to illnesses related to the cold also rose dramatically in Kent and elsewhere this winter. Stuart Jeffery, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, comments:
“Existing pensions and fuel payments are not sufficient to protect our poorest pensioners from the cold. Although wholesale energy prices have dropped since their peak before the recession, the full decrease has not been passed on to consumers (1). As a health professional(2), I am conscious of the increased demand on our health services in the unusually severe winter we are having. I can also see in my own area, homes where the snow melts off the roof very quickly compared to neighbouring properties. This means the home concerned is not properly insulated.
“If we are serious about dealing with fuel poverty(3), raising pensions to an effective level and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, then ensuring energy bills are reduced by proper insulation is a major contribution.
"It is likely that spending about £6 bn a year over 5 years would be sufficient to ensure every home is properly insulated in the UK. But it would also significantly cut deaths from the cold, for which the UK has an appalling record. About 36,700 people died of the cold last winter and it is estimated 40,000 will have done so this winter. And hospital admissions related to the cold could be cut too.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Stuart Jeffery, Campaigns Officer, Kent Green Party on 0797 0436 029 or 01622 808370. Stuart Jeffery is also Green Party candidate for Maidstone. Contact address as above. Published for Kent Green Party and promoted by H.Dawe at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF
1. Brenda Boardman – Fixing Fuel Poverty: challenges and solutions (Earthscan, 2010).
2. Stuart Jeffery is a registered nurse.
3. Fuel poverty was defined by Brenda Boardman, see note 1, back in 1988 as a household spending more than 10% of its residual income (after tax and national insurance) on energy bills.