Barbara has raised serious concerns about worrying figures released by the Office for National Statistics which predict that the number of people dying prematurely in winter 2014-15 are two and half times higher than in the previous winter.
Figures for Worsley and Eccles South for winter 2014-15 are not available yet but the number of excess winter deaths locally have increased since 2010, with 40 excess deaths in 2012-13 and 30 in 2013-14.
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 says that between 30 and 50% of the deaths are caused by poorly insulated cold homes. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that fatalities in women have more than doubled with people aged over 75 being worst affected.
“Making sure that vulnerable people can stay warm enough in winter should be a priority for the Government. The latest figures highlighting the steep increase in excess winter deaths nationally in 2014-15 show that Conservative Government cuts are hurting vulnerable people. The sharp increase is shocking particularly as this happened over one of the mildest winters.
“As the weather has been so cold in Worsley and Eccles South over the last week, I am very concerned for vulnerable people living in cold homes. Age UK reports that one older person dies every seven minutes from the winter cold. For many older people the sudden cold weather can make existing health conditions worse and can trigger fatal heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia. Older people who are frail can be trapped at home in the cold with nobody to turn to for help.
“I believe that everybody has a right to access the basic level of energy they need to keep their home warm enough to live in. That is why I am calling on the Conservative Government to look urgently at ways to help vulnerable people during the cold winter months.”