Nearly 5,000 people died in the UK last winter due to living in cold and damp homes as they could not afford the rising energy costs, the latest report from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition has claimed.
The surge in excess deaths underscores the need to upgrade the UK’s housing stock and implement measures to bring down energy bills, the coalition has warned.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition includes Greenpeace, WWF, Green Alliance, Save the Children, and Age UK, among others.
Meanwhile, a study by the Warm This Winter campaign noted that excess winter deaths climb when the temperature in the UK drops below four degrees Celsius.
According to Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, as many as 8.3 million adults in the UK are living in poorly insulated, cold, damp homes and, as temperatures drop, conditions go from being uncomfortable to “downright dangerous.”
“While households struggle, ministers are sitting on their hands and leaving matters of life and death to chance. Instead of taking action on energy bills, they have allowed energy firms to restart using the courts to force households onto prepayment meters and have now ruled out reform to energy tariffs to help those most in need,” he told Euronews on Friday.
Meanwhile, with energy bills set to remain far above pre-pandemic levels this year and beyond, such health dangers are expected to persist this winter following a series of cold snaps, experts warn.
The coalition criticized the British government for a lack of “meaningful” action to help households struggling with elevated energy tariffs. Experts noted that officials “would rather play politics with a ridiculous Oil & Gas Licensing Bill that will do nothing to improve energy security or lower bills.”