WE’VE recently experienced the coldest snap so far this winter, with thick frosts followed by a light fall of snow to greet many on their first morning back to work after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Whilst this kind of weather is a delight for most children, it’s a good deal tougher for many pensioners and others who need to keep extra warm at home.
Home heating bills are literally going through the roof in many houses; and the walls, and the windows. So much of the fuel we burn to heat our homes is lost through poor insulation. I can often feel the cold striking back through the walls and windows of poorly insulated homes that I visit, and of course the cost of keeping the temperature up is a huge burden to many pensioners on modest incomes.
Around five million households will experience fuel poverty this winter. Many customers are paying too much for their energy because of the bewildering array of social tariffs and because of the penalties for customers with prepayment meters.
Cold homes affect people’s health and wellbeing and are linked to cardiovascular illnesses such as heart disease and strokes, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis.
The elderly, families with young children, people with disabilities and others on low incomes are especially at risk from the dangers of cold homes.
There are on average close to 50 excess winter deaths linked to cold homes every year in Solihull.
That’s why last year I joined Liberal Democrat colleagues in Parliament demanding Government action to force energy companies to spend some of the £9billion they have made in windfall profits on a programme of energy efficiency measures and cuts in energy prices for customers facing fuel poverty. No-one should face a choice between food and fuel this winter.
If you need any information about grants available to insulate your home this winter, there’s still time to call the ‘Warm Front Team’ on freephone 0800 3166011