Working in partnership to tackle excess winter deaths

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue ServiceOn the fourth day of Cold Homes Week, we hear from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service‘s Station Manager in Central Prevent and Protect, Dez Stoddart, about the work that the Fire and Rescue Service is doing with Age South Staffordshire to tackle the problem of excess winter deaths in the county. Continue reading “Working in partnership to tackle excess winter deaths”

Cold homes: a massive public health crisis

A woman living in fuel povertyIt’s Cold Homes Week and Age UK is raising awareness of the devastating effects of the cold on older people. In this guest blog post, Alan Maryon-Davis, who is Honorary Professor of Public Health at Kings College London, explains why the issue of cold homes is a massive public health crisis.

Continue reading “Cold homes: a massive public health crisis”

It’s Cold Homes Week (1-5 February 2016)

An older man sitting by a windowThis week, Age UK is running Cold Homes Week, a week of action on fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

Continue reading “It’s Cold Homes Week (1-5 February 2016)”

Staying warm and well in winter

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With temperatures starting to drop, frostier mornings and even the possibility of snow in the air, winter is finally upon us. We all cope with the cold weather differently – some people even enjoy it – but for many older people, it can be life-threatening.

It may come as a shock to find out that nearly 41,000 older people died because of the cold weather in 2014-15. These were all excess winter deaths which could have been prevented. Continue reading “Staying warm and well in winter”

Complaining to energy suppliers

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We’ve all heard people complaining about poor service from their energy companies. We’ve all read newspaper articles about inaccurate bills and unanswered queries. We’ve all seen the hefty fines handed to companies for failing customers.   In truth, the energy sector has not covered itself in glory handling consumer complaints.

But householders do not need to grin and bear it. Legal and other changes to consumer protection offer increased support to aggrieved customers. All the major energy companies are now answerable to an Ombudsman. But to take action, the Ombudsman needs to be satisfied that the consumer has followed due process. Continue reading “Complaining to energy suppliers”

Redoubling our vigour to act on energy efficiency

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A new report from ResPublica, launched today sponsored by Age UK, shines the spotlight on the hapless Green Deal which, most people would agree, has been a total flop.

The report, After the Green Deal’, explores a range of possibilities aiming to produce an attractive and compelling offer for the millions who could benefit from having a more energy efficient home. It also looks outside the UK for inspiration, at other countries pursuing the same policy objectives.

THE GREEN DEAL

From its inception, the Green Deal struggled to capture the interest of older people who should have been one of its key target audiences. Back in 2013, research by Age UK found that 70 per cent of over-65s wouldn’t consider using the Green Deal, with the requirement to take out debt scaring off the majority.

Yet the problem of cold, leaky homes is huge for at least a million older people, including many of those who could benefit from home improvements. We know that older households tend to be over-represented in housing with poorer energy efficiency ratings – older couples in particular spend significantly more on their energy bills than younger groups, and cold homes pose a particular risk to their health. Continue reading “Redoubling our vigour to act on energy efficiency”