Excess Winter Deaths soar by 2.5 times in England and Wales

Posted on 21 January 2016 (Permalink)

“It is unacceptable to think that nearly 2.5 million households live in fuel poverty. The increase in excess winter deaths (EWD) highlight just how dangerous this problem can be for our most vulnerable residents. I believe that everyone should be able to live in a warm home and I am worried for those of us who are going to have to make the stark choice between heating and eating this winter” said Graham Allen MP.

Shocking figures released by the Office of National Statistics predict that the number of people dying prematurely in winter 2014-15 are two and half times higher than in the previous winter. In Nottingham North the reported number of excess deaths has averaged 42 over the past 5 years. However since the total for England and Wales has leapt from 17,460 to 43,900 it is almost certain that Nottingham North will see a worrying growth in local figures.

The number of excess winter deaths are defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in the winter months of December to March and the average number of deaths which occurred in the rest of the year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that between 30 and 50% of EWDs are caused by poorly insulated cold homes.

The ONS figures show that fatalities in women have more than doubled with people aged over 75 worst affected.

Graham Allen, MP for Nottingham North said, “The average number of EWDs was already cause for concern, these new figures show that government cuts are really hurting our most vulnerable neighbours. These figures are the highest since 1999 and are truly shocking, particularly as this huge rise happened over one of the mildest winters in recent years. This is happening at a time when the Conservative government is cutting energy efficiency by 65%. As the weather turns cold this week we are gravely concerned for the many people living in fuel poverty in Nottingham North.

Regrettably it will be those on low incomes and in poor quality housing without proper insulation who will suffer because of this government’s lack of investment.”