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‘Silent crisis’ after 16,500 people died in cold homes last year

Britain is facing ‘silent crisis’ after it emerges 16,500 people died in freezing cold homes last year, critics say

  • Watchdog Ofgem announces 16,500 winter deaths were linked to cold homes
  • Just one in five households switched energy suppliers to slash their heating bill
  • Critics warn the figure is ‘far too high’ for a developed economy and more should be done to get old folk to switch suppliers

Around 16,500 winter deaths last year were linked to cold homes, official figures revealed yesterday.

Critics warned that Britain was a facing a ‘silent crisis’ and that the figures was ‘far too high’ for a developed economy.

Ofgem’s findings come just days after maximum prices for standard tariffs were cut from £1,254 a year to £1,179.

Yet according to energy watchdog Ofgem’s annual report, customers on standard tariffs could save a further £260 by switching to a cheaper deal.

New findings from Ofcom revealed 16,500 deaths linked to cold homes in the UK last year [File image]

Despite this just one in five households switched supplier between June 2018 and June 2019, Ofgem’s figures found.

And almost half of customers said they had never switched or only switched once, the watchdog said.

Mark Todd, co-founder of comparison site Energyhelpline, said: ‘Record numbers of Britons are switching energy suppliers but there is still far too much suffering, with millions overpaying and thousands dying in cold homes each year.

‘If more seniors could be encouraged to move to cheaper tariffs and claim their winter fuel allowance, the winter death numbers could come down significantly. 

‘We urge Ofgem to treat this as the silent crisis it is and take all action it can to alleviate the suffering.’

He added that ‘16,500 winter deaths is far too high for a wealthy developed economy’.

Just over one in ten of all English and Welsh households and a quarter of those in Scotland are considered ‘fuel poor’, according to Ofgem’s report.

Some 14 per cent of households with pre-payment meters admitted they were forced to ‘self-disconnect’ because they could not afford to buy any credit, it added.

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