As I write this blog I am tucked up in bed with the central heating up high. Outside it’s minus 4ºC, the ground is covered with 6″ of snow and the roads and footpaths are sheets of ice.
It’s Christmas card weather. Little children love it – all snowballs, snowmen and footprints in the snow.
Inside many thousands of elderly households the freezing weather won’t feel so welcome.
Several millions of pensioners live in fuel poverty while the average gas and electricity bill for over 65’s rose to £1,350 last year. Energy costs have doubled in the last 6 years and continue to rise well above the rate of inflation.
£7 million older people are worried about the cost of heating their homes.
Meanwhile politicians contemplate cutting winter fuel payments for pensions, while they wrap themselves up in a coat of eye-catching, vote-catching warm words:-
- The Green Deal – loans for home improvements;
- The Warm Home Discount Scheme – £130 saving on energy bills;
- The Energy Company Obligation Scheme – subsidised home insulation.
The Energy Minister – Mr Greg Baker – said recently “a warm house should be a given, not a luxury. That is why we want to make sure everyone is aware of the support available.”
This is the same Government that forecasts that there will be 24,000 “excess” winter deaths this year.
It’s time for action, not warm words !