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 Leeds East, 6021 households are reportedly in fuel poverty and the reported number of excess deaths has averaged 58 over the past 5 years, putting the area in the top ten per cent of those affected.
The World Health Organisation says that between 30 and 50% of excess winter deaths are caused by poorly insulated cold homes - 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.
Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, said, “The average number of excess winter deaths was already cause for concern, these new figures show that government cuts are really hurting our most vulnerable neighbours. These figures are truly shocking, particularly as this huge rise happened over one of the mildest winters in recent years.
As the weather turns cold this week we are gravely concerned for the many people living in fuel poverty in Leeds East. Regrettably it will be those on low incomes and in poor quality housing who will suffer because of this government’s lack of investment.”
Clive Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, says, “The latest figures show the highest number of EWDs since the winter of 1999, with many of these being older people, often living in homes with poor insulation. Yet the government is cutting back on life-saving energy efficiency measures by up to 65%. Labour believes that everybody has a right to access the basic level of energy they need to keep their home warm enough to live in. With 2.35 million households now living in fuel poverty, this government clearly doesn’t share our vision.”