Nine elderly people died every hour from cold-related illnesses last winter against a background of soaring energy bills. Official figures show the number of deaths linked to cold over the four-month period reached 25,400 in England and Wales, plus 2,760 in Scotland.
Charities and energy company critics claim the UK has the highest winter death rate in northern Europe, even worse than much colder countries such as Finland and Sweden. More than 300,000 UK pensioners have died of cold related illnesses since 1997.
There are fears the toll could rise this year following a recent barrage of price rises that may frighten elderly people into not turning on their heating. 'The simple fact that the UK has one of the highest winter mortality rates in Europe – higher than even Sweden or Finland – makes it clear this is very much a home-grown problem. 'These are avoidable deaths due not just to the cold weather in itself but to the country’s inability to meet the challenge of dropping temperatures.'
'The elderly, and those who are ill, are particularly vulnerable during cold weather. 'We all have a role to play in remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk especially at this time of year.’ ‘Those most at risk to the effects of cold weather must not have to make a choice over whether to heat their homes or end up ill and in debt to their energy supplier.’
Yes to ‘heat’ or ‘eat’ that can be the choice of many of our elderly citizens and that is disgraceful in this day and age. Yet the government ring fences foreign aid and manages to find £7bn of our money to bail out a foreign country whose financial troubles are down to the Euro and greedy reckless bankers, in other words its own fault.
Where is the foreign aid for our poor and vulnerable, if there was a third world country where it was known that over 25,000 of their citizens were going to die our TV’s would be full of appeals for donations.
Charity must begin at home we owe that much to our senior citizens at least, after all they have paid into the system for decades have they not? Unlike asylum seekers and immigrants that seem to ‘walk’ into the country and get hand-outs for free. This is a national disgrace and I don’t know how politicians can sleep at night.
Tom Linden NF Press and Publicity