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Huge increase in winter deaths

Figures released today show an increase of 29% in the number of excess winter deaths between 2012 and 2013

Excess winter deaths have increased by 29%

Excess winter deaths have increased by 29%

The Office for National Statistics, which compiles the data every year, said the most affected were the over 75s. Cold temperatures and flu were blamed for the increase.

The first week of January saw the most deaths and coincided with a rise in the number of people suffering flu-like symptoms.

March 2013 was officially the coldest month since 1962, with an average temperature of 2.6°C.

Although excess deaths are accompanied by cold temperatures, most deaths are a result of heart disease, stokes and respiratory complications.

UK needs to ‘increase the energy efficiency of housing stock’

Caroline Abrahams, director at Age UK, said: “Excess winter deaths are preventable and today’s figures are a damning indictment of our failure to address the scandal of cold homes in this country.

“We strongly believe that the only sustainable solution is investment to increase the energy efficiency of our housing stock so cold homes become a thing of the past.”

‘Demonstrates the impact on consumers of the high cost of energy today’

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at, said: “This is shocking news and yet again demonstrates the impact on consumers of the high cost of energy today.

“Shocking as they are though, these figures are the tip of an iceberg. Last winter almost seven in ten (69%) households went without heating at some point to keep energy costs down – over a third (35%) said that it had affected their quality of life or health. This winter almost 83% will be rationing their energy use to save on bills.

“The fact is that there are millions of consumers suffering a low quality of life, poor health and misery because affordability is no longer at the heart of energy policy. This needs to be addressed urgently if we are not to see excess winter deaths spiral further.”

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  • Peter

    Frankly I am amazed that only “69% of households went without heating at some point to keep heating costs down”. So 39% have never felt the need to turn the heating down and treat it as if it were free?
    I am not particularly poor but I turn the heating down as much as my wife allows me to in order to save money. Its like not buying more food at Tesco than you can eat.
    People can be so wasteful these days, everyone should be minimising energy use irrespective of income.