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Fuel Poverty Concerns Raised by National Charity

February 18, 2019 12:03 PM
By Charlotte Power

A fuel poverty charity has raised concerns about the number of people dying due to not being able to afford heating. National Energy Action has estimated that there were 60 "excess" deaths in the Totnes constituency last winter that could be attributed to the weather and that 30% of these deaths were directly due to people not being able to afford adequate heating at home.

This means 18 constituents died as a result of cold homes last winter.

The charity has also released figures showing that a staggering 10.7% of households in the Totnes constituency currently live in in fuel poverty.

Cold weather (Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash)Across the whole of the South West, there were 5200 "excess" deaths last winter, with figures showing that 1560 vulnerable people died as a direct result of being unable to heat their homes to a sufficient temperature. Causes include low income, unaffordable energy prices and poor housing conditions. The South Hams has around double the national average of properties with the poorest energy ratings.

At a public meeting, Dawn Shepherd of charity Dartmouth Community Chest said residents were suffering with colds that are turning into pneumonia and bronchitis due to food and fuel poverty.

NEA chief executive Adam Scorer said "Everybody has the right to live in a warm, safe home, but tragically many people died needlessly last winter because of cold homes. Living in a cold, damp home can also lead to extremely poor health. With fuel bills set to rise again, without urgent local and national action we're worried the same will keep happening each winter.

"As well as needless deaths and misery, this would continue to place a huge strain on our already overstretched health services."