Elderly at risk as money for heating help runs out
Friday 17 December 2010
Concerns are mounting that the icy conditions will have a devastating effect on those suffering from fuel poverty, especially the elderly, following yesterday's revelation that the Warm Front fund, which helps people with heating and insulation, would not take on any more cases until next April.With many of the big energy providers having already hiked up their prices, the immediate future looks bleak, with forecasters predicting that December temperatures will be as vicious as November, Europe's coldest on record.
As Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne announced this year's budget for Warm Front was fully allocated, a spokeswoman for Age UK said it was "disastrous" for those who would normally have turned to the scheme for help.
In a statement backed by the watchdog Consumer Focus, Age UK's charity director Michelle Mitchell said: "Warm Front is certainly not without its problems, but it has provided much-needed help for millions of older people during the past decade. With an estimated 3.5 million older people living in fuel poverty, it is a huge concern that many frail and vulnerable older people, who desperately need help to upgrade their heating systems or improve their insulation, will now be left to their own devices."
Office for National Statistics figures show that 28,160 deaths were related to the cold weather over four months last winter, and charities – which point out that the UK has the highest winter death rate in northern Europe – fear the figure will rise this year. Earlier this month, two pensioners in Cumbria – Lillian Jenkinson, 80, and William Wilson, 84 – were believed to have frozen to death at home.
The Coalition Government has kept Winter Fuel Allowance payments of £250 for pensioners (£400 for those over 79) as well as Cold Weather Payments of £25 per week for the most vulnerable when temperatures fall below freezing for a week.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Charles Hendry has warned MPs of a shortage of domestic heating oil that could lead to rationing. "If there is further snow over Christmas, this situation could become very serious indeed," he said. The price of heating oil has risen dramatically in the past month, and Mr Hendry said that the Office of Fair Trading would be looking out for cases of price fixing.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
£10670 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...
£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...