Elderly and vulnerable could be at risk in cold says charity

Fuel poverty picture ENGSNL00120111011152518
Fuel poverty picture ENGSNL00120111011152518

Fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), has warned that people could be at risk this winter as all measures to help poorer households will shortly expire.

They have called on the Government to respond to feedback from a recent poll of those at the sharp end of this issue which shows 93% are not confident that there are sufficient resources to help fuel poor households as required by new statutory targets.

They say most low income vulnerable households may receive little or no assistance from current policies despite being eligible for help.

There are 4.5 million low income households across the UK whose health and wellbeing is being severely affected as they struggle to afford the energy they need.

NEA has estimated that by 2030 over 125,000 vulnerable people across the UK could die needlessly due to living in a cold home.

Furthermore, national health services could spend billions treating cold-related morbidity, in excess of £22bn in England and Wales alone over the same 15 year period.

However, current resources to tackle the problem are less than half of what is required to meet new fuel poverty targets.

Health impacts caused by cold homes predominantly relate to cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Low temperatures also diminish resistance to infection and encourage damp and mould growth in the home.

NEA received over 70 responses to an online questionnaire from a range of agencies at the sharp end of this issue

Chief Executive of National Energy Action Jenny Saunders said: “NEA is urging policy makers to set out clearly how they will adequately resource initiatives that make homes warmer and healthier and in turn encourage economic growth. Specifically, we have outlined the key areas the UK Government must prioritise within the upcoming comprehensive spending review.

“We want the next supplier obligation to mark an ambitious commitment to reduce fuel poverty across GB and for the UK Government to also secure non-departmental capital infrastructure funds to deliver energy efficiency improvements through local partners.

“The impact of these programmes will not be immediate so we are also urging the Government to continue and expand the Warm Home Discount Scheme

“Through a range of activities with our supporters and other partners we hope this campaign will demonstrate that by investing in warmth and upgrading Britain’s coldest homes it is possible to improve millions of people’s lives while boosting the economy and creating local jobs”.

The Warm Homes Campaign, coordinated by NEA is a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the problem of fuel poverty and the solutions available for those struggling to heat their homes affordably. The 2015 Campaign launched on November 5 and will continue to run throughout the winter ending on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on February 26 2016.

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