Winter Deaths Set to Surge as Campaigners Call for Insulating Homes to be made an Infrastructure Priority

November 24th, 2015
  • Official winter death figures for 2014/15 set to surge
  • Government ambition to insulate 1 million homes is 78% decrease in support compared to last 5 years
  • Without infrastructure support in spending review it will take 270 years to make all UK homes energy efficient

The  official Excess Winter Death figures are to be released tomorrow by the Office of National Statistics with campaigners warning that a big surge in winter deaths last year is expected to be announced.

The publication of the figures comes on the same day the Government is due to set out the Comprehensive Spending Review. With a likely theme of ‘Building Britain’, the Chancellor is due to announce £100 Billion of public investment in UK infrastructure despite plans to slash spending across many Government Departments. An alliance of over 200 charities and businesses, including Age UK and the CBI, has been calling on the Government to make home energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority.

Insulating homes is the best long term solution to fuel poverty and is the most cost effective way to reduce household carbon emissions. Research from Frontier Economics has also found that it could generate £8.7 billion in growth, comparable to the economic return from other major infrastructure projects, such as building roads and railway lines. Cold homes are also estimated to cost the NHS £1.3 billion every year.

Yet the Government has so far only announced a target of insulating 1 million homes over the course of this Parliament. As 4.5 million households were helped during the last 5 years, this would mark a 78% decline in support to increase the efficiency of cold homes, leaving them freezing, unhealthy and expensive to heat. If this rate of support continued the Energy Bill Revolution estimates it would take 270 years to make all UK homes energy efficient. The UK has some of the least energy efficient homes in western Europe, resulting in big bills and a higher rate of winter deaths than even Scandinavian countries, despite the fact they experience -30°C winters.

Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution said: “No infrastructure is more important than our homes. With £100 billion to be invested by Government in infrastructure there is no excuse for not investing in making our homes fit for the 21st Century. Making all homes energy efficient can boost growth, cut NHS costs, reduce gas imports, slash carbon emissions and end fuel poverty. No other infrastructure investment can do so much for so many.”

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