Government calls for Brits to keep heating on this winter
Cold weather plan urges people to keep their homes warm in an attempt to prevent thousands of deaths
The plan suggests keeping the living room at 21C and the rest of the home at 18C. It adds that heating to higher temperatures could represent a waste of money, whereas lower temperatures could pose health risks.
Those struggling to pay their energy bills are advised to consider turning the heat up in their living room during the day and in each bedroom just before going to sleep.
24,000 cold-related deaths each year
The plan states that there are more than 24,000 avoidable deaths each year across England and Wales, from causes related to the cold weather. These include “fuel poverty, poor housing and health inequalities, as well as circulating infectious diseases, particularly flu and norovirus.”
Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director at Public Health England, which issued the report, said: “In colder weather, keeping yourself warm is essential to staying healthy, especially for the very young, older people or those with a chronic condition such as heart disease and asthma.
“There are a range of health problems associated with cold housing and winter weather, but in particular, a cold indoor or outdoor environment can make heart and respiratory problems worse, and can be fatal.
“This is why the cold weather plan sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary groups, and individuals can take and plan for cold temperatures to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.”
Energy price hikes mean many will struggle
The timing of the report coincides with a number of the energy companies announcing price rises averaging in the region of 10%. Of the big six energy providers, British Gas, npower, ScottishPower and SSE have all announced price hikes and E.ON and EDF are both expected to follow suit.
Research carried out as part of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign today revealed that Britain ranked amongst the European nations with the most fuel poor citizens. In fact, in Europe, only Estonia has a greater number of fuel poor inhabitants.
The cold weather plan was issued by PHE, which worked with the Department of Health, NHS England and the Local Government Association (LGA) to draft the recommendations.