Fuel poverty and cold homes caused 9,000 deaths in England and Wales last winter

Fuel poverty and cold homes have caused 9,000 deaths in England and Wales last winter alone, a study from the University College London (UCL) has been able to reveal.

The charity Age UK estimates that fuel poverty, where people cannot afford to heat their home, costs the NHS around £1.3bn every year.

Each year, the Office for National Statistics calculates the number of additional deaths which take place in winter, caused by interrelated issues, including falls, viruses which are more prevalent in winter and cold indoor temperatures bringing on or exacerbating illness.

Researchers took those statistics and the English Housing Survey, which collects information about the condition and energy efficiency of housing, and extrapolated the number of deaths occurring in the coldest homes.

Dr Jessica Allen, whose team conducted the study, told BBC Panorama: “This was not the coldest winter on record. People dying from cold homes are a result of high fuel prices, low incomes and poor insulation. It’s entirely preventable.

“If that was an epidemic of some disease there would quite rightly be people marching in the streets and causing an outrage, but this is because of the cold.”

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