Fuel poverty and excess winter deaths
Friday, February 26, 2016
National Energy Action (NEA) is today warning that the health service continues to waste well over a billion pounds a year on treating preventable cold-related illness.
The charity estimates that every local Health and Wellbeing Board in England is spending, on average, over £27,000 each day, or £10million per year, on treating patients with health conditions caused or worsened by living in cold, damp housing.
Fuel poverty – where people spend a disproportionate amount of their disposable income on energy bills, or who are unable to pay their energy bills at all – is one of most significant underlying environmental determinants of ill-health in the UK today. The other is the need to improve the quality and diversity of housing stock. According to Age UK, one in three UK households is expected to be in fuel poverty by the end of this year.
Cold homes are associated with increased risk of respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis, circulatory problems, such a cardiovascular disease and stroke, can exacerbate existing health conditions and have implications for mental health
Nationally, NEA claims that cold homes cost health services £3.6 million per day, and in the past four years alone over £5 billion of tax payers’ money has been wasted whilst 117,000 people have died needlessly due to the cold.
HJCL is working with a client in the property and construction sector to explore the health-related impact of fuel poverty on local communities.