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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 government has advised homes to keep the heating on this winter

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.

Read more

Avoiding energy price rises – switch now or later?

UK fuel poverty levels second only to Estonia

  • Clive

    After ruling the world for centuries the country can’t even keep it’s vulnerable people warm and healthy.

    • Tim

      But it never could even when we were running the world.

  • Michael

    Nearly every tv clip you see of someone complaining about cold and cost of heating is in shirtsleeves.. Why not put a sweater on ? Why doesn’t the government ever mention warm clothing and if there’s money to spare,,subsidize a good thick sweater each for older people ?. ..

  • Christine

    Thank you Government for the helpful tip. Are we the fourth or fifth richest country? It hardly makes any difference if there is not better solution to fuel poverty than heating the bedroom at 18 degrees and the lounge at 21. Some people are not even able to heat to this temperature. The irony is that the advise comes from people whose closest experience of a cold house is a Dickens novel.

    • Moose

      we are the twelfth richest last i checked (Y) which is crazy high considering the size of britain!

      • fred

        6th by GDP…

      • anthonyfarrar

        Size is not important…

    • 21st Century Tiger

      This is acting on the assumption that we actually have thermostats that tell us the temperatures in individual rooms… or radiators switched on! I only have mine switched on in my sons room!

      • Tim

        Don’t tell me, you ‘re sleeping in your sons room.

  • Kathy

    Is it better to keep my underfloor heating on all the time at a medium temperature, or turn off when I am not at home.

    • Moose

      you wanna swap house???? i want heated floors 🙁

      • minimemo

        You can have mine, monthly heating bills of £160 to go with it too…

    • Perry525

      The greater the difference in temperature, the greater the heat loss. Logic says therefore, that having your heating on 24/7 costs more than turning it off. However, in practice because of the cooling of walls, ceiling, floors and rooms contents, having your heating on all the time works best.
      I have mine on 24/365 controlled by three thermostats set at 22 daytime 20 nighttime, this works perfectly for me, the home being zoned means that the heating only comes on and heats the room that needs heating. My underfloor heating has a floor surface temperature of 24 to 27C = means warm feet.

    • pipjake

      I’d say turn off when you are not at home. Use your timer to come on an hour before you get home. I am at home all day, so I have it coming on for 2 hours before I get up in the morning. The timer is a must. Underfloor heating works differently to radiators as it takes 1-2 hours to heat up, and then on for 2 hours in the afternoon. The house stays warm all evening until it’s time to go to bed. Then I have my electric over blanket on all night. I could never have the heating on all night. I love the bedroom to be cool, and the blanket to be warm and cozy.

  • Stephen Eblet

    I’ve given up on the heating, unless the temperature drops excessively low. We put extra layers on and cover up. I’m just not going to feed these greedy utility companies.

  • Michael Owens

    Government really said this?

  • Mark Cornish

    Living with a heart condition it is important that I cannot get cold. But the government will not help pay for my heating, and even my medications for my heart condition is not covered by the government. I feel the government should walk a mile in our shoes to see what life is really like.

  • rocker555

    so once it gets to 26000 no one else dies from the cold for this year,,,does that mean they are carried over to next year?????people in fuel poverty should get so many units before their bill kicks in,,,,,,same as tax allowances,,,,,,

  • Willow

    Turn the heating down before going to bed? What, I can’t afford it on constantly during the day so I certainly can’t afford to leave it on at night.

    • Bish Chan

      Same, never dreamed of having heating on constantly.

  • shaun

    Why don’t the governments stop giving handouts by the millions to other countries for the next 5 years , and treat everyone to solar panels so we can all escape the greedy fuel suppliers who hike up prices every winter . This would also encourage the purchases of electric powered cars giving the oil giants a kick in the nuts too.

    • Perry525

      Every time a new solar panel goes up, our energy prices go up as well, to pay for it. Its called the poor (who cannot afford solar panels) subsidizing the rich. Following your suggestion, the last person who doesn’t have a solar panel will be paying an energy bill of millions of UK£ to cover the subsides to everyone else.

      • Vee

        we paid for ours solely with our own money so there !! And we are helping towards there being enough energy for the likes of you

        • anthonyfarrar

          Thank you.

        • Tim

          No you are not. You get paid inflated prices by the electricity company for the energy you generate. Money we actually pay in higher bills because the energy companies pass it on to us.
          So thank you very much indeed. By bill would be lower if you hadn’t bought the damn things.

          • Vee

            In a sense you are correct, the government (not the energy companies) is paying us with money taxed from other people. However, the more people who generate their own, the lower the need for more and bigger power stations to “keep the lights on” and the less chance of constant blackouts. These power stations cost billions to build and run and that comes out of tax too. You either pay with your left hand or with your right. There is – in case you have not noticed it – an energy crisis. We cannot go on burning fossil fuels and the only alternatives appear costly at the moment but will reduce. Sustainable energy generation is the only type which will not literally cost us the earth.

          • Tim

            No Vee it doesn’t come out of tax. It is not the Government that pays you the inflated prices, it is the energy company that is forced to do so by the Government. And these charges are passed straight on to the rest of us.

          • Vee

            Oh. so the energy they are paying us for is energy they do NOT have to pay someone else for – a bit like buying 19lbs of apples from one store and 1lb of apples from another when you need 20lbs of apples. How will they then need to pass on the cost of the 1lb of apples to someone else ?

          • Tim

            Because they could have bought the energy that you sold them from a coal fired power station for half the price they are forced to pay you.
            The Government is forcing them to close the coal fired stations that produce cheap energy and instead buy very expensive energy from you and it is the rest of us who have to pay through higher prices.
            There has never been a shortage of power in this country and if coal fired stations were not being forced to close we just wouldn’t need the power you generate. There is no way the energy companies would buy the energy you generate from you at those prices if they were not forced to do so. They can very simply generate it much cheaper themselves.
            And if they did my energy bill would be lower.

          • Vee

            I cannot argue with what you say except to point out that there is a higher hidden cost to be paid for the continuing use of fossil fuels. Have you got children ? What world will you pass on to them ? Are you old enough to remember how many died from smog before the Clean Air Act ? That was a simple solution, The solution to our current climate problems is very much more complex, and should have been addressed decades ago.

            We afforded our own solar panels because we do not spend on other things which so many folk think/feel are vital. We have a tiny TV, only one computer, no other electronic gadgets, one basic high mileage car and we do not take expensive overseas holidays or buy designer clothing. I am sorry your energy bill is beyond your means – what steps have you taken to reduce your energy use ?

          • Tim

            First, I am not blaming you at all for buying the solar panels and taking advantage of the scheme, I just wanted to highlight who is really paying for the switch from fossil fuels to renewables and that it really does affect some of the most vulnerable people who are often ill equipped to pay the higher prices.
            With respect to global warming and the need to switch to more expensive power, I am not a scientist, but if it turns out that global warming either isn’t really happening or if it is, it isn’t actually such a bad thing (I personally wouldn’t be complaining if the temperature around me was higher) then the real cost shouldn’t be measured in billions of pounds but in the millions of people who ensured inadequate heating due to the higher prices.

          • Vee

            Ok I understand where you are coming from and I sympathise. but please do not refer to global warming, this give folks the totally wrong impression. I am referring to massive climate disruption not just a slightly warmer days.(some places will get colder days) I am also referring to the dwindling supply of fossil fuels and the increasingly environment damaging methods of trying to extract the last accessible drops. When all the options have been exploited what then ? NOW is the time to change to sustainable energy, that which is inexhaustible. Like everything the technical aspect will cost more to start with but the price will come down the more we use it. After all the sun, the wind and the sea are free.

    • 21st Century Tiger

      Did you know 1% of Energy consumption globally comes from Solar or Wind power.

  • lagrangia

    The only way to avert tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths from hypothermia is a massive reduction in the extortionate costs of energy, without frills or gimmicks.
    1/ Abolish Green subsidies until renewables are as cheap and reliable as conventional sources of Energy, regardless of EU Directives. This needs good engineers, not desk bound officials. We need them more than we need celebrities or Government officials
    2/ Remove all government taxation on domestic energy- their expenditure needs to be more “focussed” on reduction of basic costs of living to levels befitting a major world economy.
    3/ Break up the Big Six Cartel and encourage/licence new leaner and more responsive suppliers
    4/ Forget Global Warming- even if we were causing the “flat line” in global temperatures since 1997, the Eocene Age ( 56-49 million years ago) proves that an atmospheric carbon dioxide level of 4,000 ppm ( cf today’s 400 ppm) is NO threat to “The Planet” at all, but did lead to a diversity of plants and flowers way beyond our present natural world.

    We know that Global Warming poses less danger to Humanity than the measures proposed by power hungry bureaucrats to control us( did I mean the Climate). If we are lucky , they will bring us an Ice Age; if we are unlucky, loss of hard-won rights and freedoms in an Ideological dictatorship comes as an “extra”.

    200 years of history should by now have totally discredited the idea of Ideological Dictatorships, but have we learned that Lesson yet?

    • Newsbot9

      So reducing the money the poor have for heating by associating costs onto them, I see… (Oh, and ignoring science)

      • lagrangia

        How does reducing energy costs harm the poor? Do the poor really want to continue with ever rising costs and worsening economic decline imposed by a cabal of energy utilities and Green infested politicians?

        And, yes, since the atmosphere’s temperature has not risen in 17 years and since, without previous warming, an Ice Age is due, we see no need to inflict all these extra costs on consumers . The game is hardly worth the candle..
        The effects of Human and natural activity are quite likely to cancel out

        Solar cycle variability and volcanism are acknowledged as being operative factors as well, as they have been for billions of years.
        There is even an argument which welcomes some global warming for agriculture and lower heating costs- which is more than can be said for a premature Ice Age caused by ideologues in office.

        The last independent Greek Prime Minister , in 2011, after a marathon conference on Global Warming, let the cat out of the bag when he declared that Green taxes were neither intended nor able to affect the Climate, but were designed to fund growing and intrusive bureaucracy throughout and for the EU.
        This is hardly likely to help the poor or anyone else, except for a self-aggrandising elite. Such elites NEVER help the poor, so why feed them?

        Even if the UK were to stop ALL combustion of anything for a century, we might at best reduce atmospheric temperature rises (if all this were actually to work) by 0.02% of its projected rise- now greatly reduced in the light of the Climate’s obstinate refusal to fit the graphs.. China and India, and quite possibly Turkey are clearly not looking for a Green Christmas..

        We achieve a massive reduction in living standards for minimal, if any , gain. Only a Red or a Green could support such folly, but then the rise of the Greens began within a year of the Fall of Communism. Different ideology, same innate characteristics

        • Newsbot9

          Well, for starters you’re not talking about reducing energy bills. Keep getting confused between greens and capitalists, as you push your pseudo-science and talk about cherry-picked figures.

          Then you blame the EU, talk about your elite of AGCC-deniers and how you hate the poor, pump out more pseudo-science and you are the one demanding massive reductions in living standards, capitalist.

          Oh, and if you have Reds Under The Beds, get an exorcism.

          Is there a problem with the current system? Yes, RO’s have been hijacked into being a bill escalator. That’s a good reason to move to a carbon-tax based approach and build nuclear reactors.

          • lagrangia

            I think it can be understood by most readers that energy costs are advocated by me and many others as reduced energy bills.To make things clear, the whole aim of what I am calling for IS massively reduced energy bills for households and industry.I do not see that the poor will reject this! I have never hated the poor,neither here nor elsewhere..

            I leave hatred to Reds and Greens. Reds have a proven track record for anti-humanism and lethal oppression- ; no dispute there, and Green authorities have openly taken up Red ideas of social engineering. Their agenda is openly anti-human and instead of scapegoating social class are sworn enemies of Humankind per se .
            Pol Pot and Genghiz Khan are notable heroes in the Green Movement. Both reached for the Equality of the Mass Graveyard
            Enough said!

          • Newsbot9

            Then why are you not calling for things which will do it then?

            You then start shouting PC hatred, and talk about your agenda, which you’re blaming on others, as you lie about your heroes being theirs.

          • lagrangia

            “Shouting” is usually done in higher case letters throughout. Not Guilty…

            I suspect that re-nationalised power companies would be even more monopolistic and inefficient than a Cartel of Six. We need a non-Cartel of a few dozen truly independent suppliers, mandated to compete on price – we also need a fuel source which is independent of increasingly odious foreign regimes.

            Competitive and flexible innovation is as likely to lead to reduced and more responsive prices in energy supplies as it is beginning to do in civilian rocketry. Neither Cartels nor State Leviathans will “cut it”

            The USA, notably under President Obama, has adopted “fracking” in part to avoid entanglements in future increasingly destructive wars in the Middle East, as well as avoiding becoming hostage to the anti-democratic quasi-Tsarist regime in Russia. Ukrainians understand this well…

            We could take a leaf out of Obama’s book, as well as using it as a lever to enforce real competition with new licences to more diverse suppliers.

            If present high prices are to be justified at all from a PR point of view, such Independence for the UK would garner more support than the appeal to the uncertainties of the Climate in generations to come.

            Like it or not, millions are now cynical about “Climate Change”- once called “Global Warming” until the line went flat! Where are the World Climate Conferences held locally, and the reduced usage by Climate Ministers of aircraft and expensive limousines? They clearly do not believe their own propaganda! Why should we?

            As for a certain one-time politician who pushed wind generators and their associated vast expense and ineffectiveness across the landscape of the UK, what a figure of trustworthiness and decency he turned out to be! What a pity he never had to face Marcus Tullius Cicero in a courtroom….

          • Newsbot9

            Fracking has been adopted for political reasons in America, complete with protection from oversight. Taking a “leaf” out of empowering a few large companies to control even more of the power supply, with lots of collateral damage… (tip – the shales in question here are not far from cities…)

            The reality is that plenty of people believe in astrology, disbelieve evolution, etc. – no reason to pander to them. The line is not “flat” outside revisionist pseudo-science.

            The reality is that if you were actually remotely interested in your stated goals, you’d be behind nuclear energy.

          • lagrangia

            I am not against nuclear energy. Reactors can be made much cleaner and more efficient than earlier types. Nuclear proliferation could be countered by using Thorium rather than Uranium- a solution I once advocated for Iran years ago; I wonder why they did not take the chance of building a major peaceful technological leadership by going for it rather than the alarming programme they and almost everybody else is stuck with. .

            Highly active Nuclear wastes are now open to “glassification” thanks to experimental work with muon bombardment in the Kurchatov Institute in Russia in collaboration with the Technion Institute in Tel Aviv

            Meanwhile if we had real Chutzpah, we could go faster towards fusion eg at Culham, – it would still cost less than HS2, propping up a medium sized bank, or a major Middle East War…
            The spin-offs would be massive- new plasma physics and technology, cheap desalination of sea water, hgih quality job propsects for our brighter youth, and credible interstellar propulsion systems in the longer run

          • Newsbot9

            Hot fusion is something which is not ready for prime tome as a power source. While it needs research cash, we need to be building fission reactors today.

            (Also, check the prices of Thorium…looks like China or Russia are buying!)

  • Celia

    What planet are they on? Are they going to pay my utility bills for me? I can’t afford more than an hours worth of heat a day and then no warmer than 18C and I’m working or I will be as long as my asthma doesn’t decide to play up!


    the Tories want to spend 50 billion on a train set 48 billion +on Trident this should be put in the bin, then use the money to nationalize the power companies

  • Christine

    Wouldn’t it be better if our fuel bills we did not have to include colossal percentages in profits? Suppose we were only charged for the actual cost of the fuel we used and whatever overheads were needed to supply and administer it? Oh brave new world!

  • Hugh mooney

    I want the cost of power to reduce to but at a cost to the earth instead of reducing the green levy take the money from huge profits they are making and not paying tax on

  • yrrab

    We should re nationalise the utilities . If you have shareholders you have to pay them and the money you pay them could be used to soften costs to the consumer.

  • sally

    When people are in fuel poverty, they cannot afford to turn the heating on at all. This government statement is just another soundbite that makes no sense. How can people who cannot afford to turn their heat on reduce their bills by heating rooms to 18C and heating bedrooms before retiring for the night?

  • olddave

    unlike our MP’s we the public dont have an allowance to pay our bills from. enough said!!

  • ramabama

    More than 50% of the British population cannot afford the new tariff, that is set to increase even further with the cartel of Big 6, most of who are anyway foreign owned, making profits that are mere extortion. Without turning the fuse on the debatable Science that is so skewed towards the rich (few), letting the common man bleed (in the instant case, freeze), enough is to say that the current capitalist system is run by few, for the few and of the few.

    Time to nationalize energy companies, reduce costs and prices, divert the excess profits towards job creation, go for solar energy for street lighting (that is hardly ever there is the UK), powering all Government institutions to begin with. Why can’t Britain get in to manufacturing Solar Panels, have more nuclear plants, using the public money instead of going for HS2?? Current energy bills will run few millions to poverty, and here is a Government talking about the median home temperature!!!

  • maryjane

    so we can make more profits for the foreign owned utilities suppliers

  • graham

    the government reduce our cold weather payment by £50 but the bills go up what a joke

  • Syd

    The government are calling for Brits to keep heating on this winter, NOT for the Brits to keep warm and healthy, but to put huge profits into the pockets of the FOREIGN OWNERS and the large share holders (many being MPs) of these energy companies.

    • Graham

      Apparently the Government also provides free healthcare for every citizen for no other reason than to support the profits of the pharmaceutical companies.
      Any they only pay pensions because they want Tesco to sell more food and I have heard that the only reason they build roads and bridges and schools is because a few MP’s have got shares in construction companies.
      Syd, you are a Pillock.

  • Olivia Atkinson

    If only I could claim my heating costs on expenses!

    “The grasping hypocrisy of MPs claiming £200,000 in a year for their energy bills is today laid bare in a shocking Sunday Mirror investigation.

    Top of the heap is a millionaire Tory who claimed a staggering £5,822 in just 12 months – more than four times the average household energy bill – to power and heat his £1million constituency home in a sprawling 31-acre estate”

  • hugh mcClung

    what they are really saying is get up in the morning go to work , go home get something to eat , then go to bed and so on while the help themselves to your hard earned money , simple …..

  • Sarah Carter

    I can only heat my home 2 days a week & it’s flippin freezing. These politicians are morons of the highest order

    • cry wolf

      Is that your nose getting bigger!

  • vorlon7

    Keep it on, only my daughters room has any heating as she has asthma the rest is not on I cant afford as a single parent pensioner with 2 children and no support from ex wife to eat and heat

  • anthonyfarrar

    If Cameron and his corrupt friends at Westminster weren’t obsessed with giving our money away (disguised as aid) to foreign countries, and billions more to the EU and to EU citizens, illegal immigrants and other undeserving cases, perhaps we could look after our own vunerable people?

    Or is that asking too much?

  • Monti

    With a thermostat in my hall, all radiators are either on or off. There is no control over individual radiators.

  • tasha

    i actually switched 2 years ago to setting my thermostat at 20 for the winter and my energy bill was less than me turning it on and off constantly when it got cold. my heating actually clicked on less doing this as my house seemed to level out at a good temperature, so it does work and my bill was cheaper. and no I don’t have loads of money, im a single working parent on one small income and no I don’t agree with the price hikes that the gas companies put on us but there are also a lot of things you can get for free now to help keep the heat in, like loft insulation and cavity walls. so try it because it does work.

  • Steve Bateman

    And who is going to pay the bill – Cameron, Milliband, The 3rd one or are the energy firms going to let us have the fuel for free??

  • Tom

    I put the thermostat to 17 C and then put a jumper on. Not because I cant afford it, I probably can if I am honest. Its rather that it is perfectly possible to live in a cool temperature if you dress sensibly. I know people that complain about fuel prices and when I go around to their houses its like Barbados and they are walking around in a T shirt. Turning the heating down to save money is like going second class instead of first class. It may not be as pleasant but is perfectly adequate and you save money.

  • rob

    In the picture the house appears to be burning down. I don’t think the Govt quite had that in mind when it recommended keeping the heating up.

  • Heatwave

    This government plan proves they are living on a different planet to the rest of us ,no idea of the reality of hard ship or trying to budget how ever keep sending the tax payers money away to country’s that laugh at us keep squeezing your own people for the benefit of out siders that’s government policy