This blog was contributed by David Terrace, Energy Programme Manager, at Age UK.
One cannot escape from the scrutiny on fuel poverty this winter, and rightly so, it’s an epidemic. However, one element of fuel poverty that is often ignored is the plight of those in rural, off-mains gas areas. For Age UK, this is particularly important as there is twice the percentage of retired people in rural areas than urban, and there are around 1.5million older people living off the gas grid.
So what we are doing about? During the cold winter we highlighted the issues that are facing older, isolated people in rural areas. Age UK achieved this through considerable press coverage with articles appearing in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph. This raised awareness of older people in terrible housing stock, paying a great deal more for their heating but not receiving the help that they need.
There was more to do than just talk about it, it needed tangible action. The spark was provided by the Department of Energy and Climate change announcing its Cheaper Energy Together fund in November. We knew we had to the opportunity to ‘show not tell’ on rural fuel poverty, albeit with a very short timescale (start in January, finish before Easter!) Continue reading
Posted in Communities and inclusion, Energy, Income, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #energybills, #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Cheaper Energy Together, collective oil purchasing, Department of Energy and Climate, energy, fuel poverty, heating, isolation, living off the gas grid, older people, rural fuel poverty, rural living, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter, winter deaths
This blog was contributed by Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution.
The recent prediction from the energy regulator OFGEM that energy bills are likely to rise as the UK becomes more dependent on gas is more bad news for British households facing ever mounting financial pressure.
The average dual fuel energy bill now costs a household over £1,400 each year. As the energy bills bite, fuel poverty is now rocketing out of control, affecting 1 in 4 families in the UK. A fuel poverty crisis is unfolding before our eyes.
Behind these figures lies a real human tragedy. Thousands of older people die from the cold every year and in extreme cases people are left with the stark choice of whether to feed their family or heat their home. Many of those most affected are the most vulnerable, older people, the disabled and young children.
The reaction of the Government to this crisis is lamentable. Despite their protestations that they are doing all they can to help the figures speak for themselves. They have cut spending on the fuel poor by 26% and slashed funding for energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor by 44%. This is despite the fact that experts recognise by far the best long term solution to fuel poverty is to super insulate the UK housing stock. The result is that fuel poverty is getting worse and by 2016 there could be up to 9 million households in fuel poverty. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Energy, Energy Bill Revolution, Income, Money Matters
Tagged #EnergyBillRev, #energybills, #fuelpoverty, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, energy, Energy Bill Revolution campaign, Energy Bill Revolution coalition, energy consumption, energy efficiency, energy prices, fuel poverty, Health, Health & wellbeing, home energy efficiency, home insulation, Money & benefits, money matters, older people, poverty, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter, winter deaths
This guest blog was contributed by Dan Jarvis MP.
Dan Jarvis MP
During the winter of 2011/12, 24,000 people died as a result of plummeting temperatures and soaring heating bills. These deaths did not come without warning. Similar numbers have died every winter for decades. As winter draws upon us again, it is unacceptable that many people face an uncertain and dangerous future, simply because they cannot afford to keep themselves warm.
19,500 winter deaths, of the total of 24,000, happened amongst those aged over 75. These men and women worked hard contributing to our society on the understanding that they will be cared for if the need arises, and they deserve far better treatment in these cold months.
Care for the elderly is an important yardstick by which societies should be measured. It is unacceptable that in modern Britain, which despite economic recession is still a relatively prosperous nation, vulnerable people are at risk simply because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.
As well as a moral tragedy, fuel poverty is an economic scandal. The former Chief Medical Officer, estimated that cold homes cost the NHS £850 million every year. An end to the unacceptable levels of cold winter deaths would not only save lives during the winter months, but the savings made would help to save countless more lives. Continue reading
Posted in Income, Money Matters, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #spreadthewarmth, @DanJarvisMP, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, Dan Jarvis MP, energy, energy efficiency, excess winter deaths, fuel poverty, older people, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter, winter deaths