Protesters carry a coffin into Downing Street in anger at the winter deaths
Activists carried a mock coffin into Downing Street on Thursday highlighting the thousands of deaths last winter.
Activists from four groups, including Fuel Poverty Action, held a vigil outside the gates of the Prime Minister’s residence after delivering a letter urging him to take further action to halt cold-temperature-related deaths .
Ruth London, co-founder of Fuel Poverty Action, said: “No one should die because they don’t have enough money to keep their heating and, in many cases, their lights on.
The coffin bore the number 13,400, which was released on Thursday as the official estimate of how many more people died in England and Wales between December 2021 and March 2022 than the non-winter average.
Of those, an estimated 4,020 died as a result of cold housing, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This means that in England and Wales alone, an average of 45 people died a day as a result of living in an excessively cold home.
The number of excess deaths in winter is the second-lowest in decades, but experts fear it will rise after months of a cost-of-living crisis.
National Energy Action said the numbers “only cover last winter, when energy bills were half what they are now.”
The charity says the number of households classified as living in fuel poverty has risen from 4.5 million to 6.7 million – almost a quarter of all households in the UK.
Its Managing Director Adam Scorer said: “Next year these statistics will reveal the full impact of today’s energy crisis.
“The toxic combination of extraordinary heating bills, stagnant or declining incomes, and our notoriously poor, unhealthy housing stock will take a greater toll as lives are shattered by debt, ill health and worse.
“This winter we need the government to provide more support and prevent millions from falling through the cracks with the most horrible consequences.”
Ms London added: “The stories we’ve heard are absolutely heartbreaking: people wearing Covid masks at home because the air at home is too cold and too sharp on the throat.
“People who sleep with every piece of clothing and blanket over them and still shiver in their own beds, people who spend the day in bed.”
National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) chief Jan Shortt said: ‘Rising costs of living, galloping energy prices and the catastrophic crisis in the NHS and social care will leave tens of thousands more dead unless action is taken.’
Britain’s health agency has extended a level 3 cold-weather alert until Monday after overnight temperatures fell to as low as 10C in parts of the UK.
Officials warned that the cold weather “could increase health risks for vulnerable patients and disrupt service delivery.”
People struggling to pay their energy bills have been urged to contact Simple Energy Advice for free energy efficiency advice and grants to help them keep up with payments.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/20/protesters-carry-coffin-to-downing-street-in-anger-at-winter-deaths-18135785/ Protesters carry a coffin into Downing Street in anger at the winter deaths