MP's shock at scale of winter deaths

SIXTY people are believed to have died in the Colchester area this winter because of being unable to afford to heat their homes properly.

Annie Davidson

SIXTY people are believed to have died in the Colchester area this winter because of being unable to afford to heat their homes properly.

The shocking statistic was revealed by the town's MP Bob Russell who claimed the Government had failed to tackle “so many areas of poverty.”

Mr Russell had joined Liberal Democrat colleagues in the House of Commons on Friday to try and push through the Warm Homes Bill which aimed to work towards ending “fuel poverty” - when people cannot afford to heat their homes properly.


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The Private Members' Bill would have provided a wide-reaching home insulation programme which would in turn reduce energy bills, as well as reduced the increased price of fuel for people using metres.

Mr Russell said the 60 deaths - an estimated figure issued by the Association for the Conservation of Energy - was “shocking” and called on the Government to do more.

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He added: “The Government has failed in so many areas of poverty and after 12 years I would say, why haven't you solved the issue of child poverty?

“The biggest single issue of child poverty is for the children to have a decent house, there is no point having education, health and welfare and all other things if the basic housing need is not being met.”

The Warm Homes Bill, which had the backing of Age Concern and the Child Poverty Action Group, was not voted through.

A spokesman for the Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “Tackling fuel poverty is a core objective for Government and the Department, but the proposals within the bill are un-costed and unrealistic.

“Setting a mandatory energy efficiency target for all properties occupied by the fuel poor ignores the diversity of the UK housing stock and would cost an estimated �50billionn by 2016, while the bill also fails to explain how it will identify fuel poor households who will receive social tariffs.

“However the Government recognises that more needs to be done.

“We've made considerable progress, but recent price hikes have made further improvements more difficult, and we are currently reviewing whether our existing measures could be made more effective.”

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