The figures for ‘excess winter deaths’ for last winter (2013-14) are mercifully down on the truly awful figures for the previous year. But this is no cause for celebration. It is a grim reminder that the debate about energy is not just about prices, but is also about lives, illness and misery.
At last, the Government has produced the fuel poverty strategy paper it promised in December. It falls rather short of what we hoped for.
Posted in General, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #energybills, #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, campaigning, fuel poverty, Government, Health & wellbeing, older people, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter, winter deaths
Mervyn Kohler, Age UK’s External Affairs Adviser, looks at what the Budget means for savers, the social care system and our hopelessly energy-inefficient housing stock.
In its tone and delivery, the Budget speech sounded good news for pensioners, and there is much to applaud in the Government’s proposals. But before getting carried away with enthusiasm it’s important to take a cool look at what we mean by ‘pensioners’.
Retired people with savings who have seen desperately poor returns on their investments will welcome the National Savings Pensioner Bond from next January, the simplification of ISAs and their raised savings limits.
Older people coming up to retirement can appreciate the proposed flexibilities around their pension savings, and the increases in the lump sums they are allowed to draw. But they must be careful to strike a balance between the resources they use to spend now, rather than fund their (hopefully) long lives at an appropriate level. Unfortunately these savings can only be used once! Continue reading
Posted in Budget, Government
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Budget 2014, Chancellor's Budget, George Osborne Budget, older people, pens, pensioners, pensions
Heaven knows we need a fresh start. With every tweak of the programmes, with every refinement of the strategy, the prospects of a convincing victory on the core front just get more remote. The fuel poor get to make harder and harder choices, the old and the young suffer health setbacks, the misery piles up. Words like national disgrace, scandal, heating or eating, become devalued.
We’ve ended up with a totally perverse delivery system. The general consensus is that an area-based, whole-house approach works best: what we’ve got is market-driven, bench-marked by cost-effectiveness, and funded by the energy companies who can’t deliver at scale because of the impact on consumer bills. We have programmes delivering the least satisfactory outcomes. A Written Parliamentary Answer at the end of January says it all. Citing the latest figures (21 November), it reported the achievements of the Energy Company and Green Deal in 2013. 471,766 measures had been installed in 403,000 houses (an average of 1.17 measures per house – hardly amounting to a whole-house make-over). 394,370 of those measures had been funded by ECO, and 8,485 by householders getting a Green Deal survey then claiming the cashback offer in the scheme. Only 458 had gone ahead with the Green Deal package, including finance. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Energy, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #fuelpoverty, #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, consumers, Energy Company Obligation, fuel bills, fuel poverty, fuel poverty older people, Green Deal, older people, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign