Excess winter mortality rates set to be announced
Demo to end winter deaths scandal due to fuel poverty will march on Downing Street
A major demonstration over the scandalous deaths of thousands of people from cold related illnesses because they can’t afford heating is being held outside Parliament next Friday (12pm, 26 November 2021).
The National Pensioners’ Convention-London Region (NPC) is joining forces with Fuel Poverty Action (FPA) and End Fuel Poverty Coalition to stage the protest on the day the Winter Mortality rates for England and Wales are announced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
They are demanding urgent Government action to address the shameful increase in fuel poverty which is behind thousands of Winter deaths - and which the Chancellor failed make provision for in his recent Budget.
The rally will start at 12pm opposite the House of Lords – where it will be addressed by Lord Prem Sikka, TUC President Sue Ferns and Ruth London of FPA – before marching to Downing Street to hand in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Jan Shortt, NPC General Secretary said: “No one should die in this country – one of the richest in the world – from the cold related illness in the 21st century.
“Yet people on low incomes across the country will already be having to choose whether to eat or heat their homes this winter. Their situation has been worsened by spiralling inflation – which may hit 5 or 6 percent by next February - driving up costs of essentials like food and heating at the coldest part of the year.
“The government is doing virtually nothing to help these people – including the 2.1 million pensioners currently living in poverty. Indeed, the Chancellor in his recent Budget managed to make things worse with a range of measures that helped bankers and big business with tax breaks, while the poorest are having to pay more. And to add to pensioners’ misery, just days ago the government voted to downgrade the triple lock to safeguard state pensions for the first time in 11 years.
“We need the Prime Minister to recognise the death penalty awaiting our poorest and most vulnerable this winter and step in with measures to regulate prices and most importantly help those in need afford the basics he and the more well off take for granted.
“The NPC hopes Mr Johnson will understand the disaster ahead for our poorest this winter and personally step in to help as a matter of urgency.”
Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action, added: "Deaths from fuel poverty in this wealthy country are not an act of God but an obscenity. They’re a result of deliberate policies on housing, fossil fuels, pensions, benefits, taxes, and wages, that cannot be allowed to stand."
The winter deaths figures in England and Wales due to cold related illnesses for 2020 to 2021 (provisional) and 2019 to 2020 (final) will be announced by the ONS on November 26th. An estimated 28,300 excess winter deaths occurred in the two nations in winter 2019 to 2020, which was 19.6% higher than winter 2018 to 2019 (ONS).
The numbers tend to vary each year for a variety of factors and include deaths due to winter road accidents as well as cold related illnesses, and Covid-19 is likely to add another factor to this year’s figures. Fuel Poverty Action estimate that fuel poverty cold related illnesses alone – that is resulting from cold homes - account for more than 10,000 of the above figures.
With rising costs in food and fuel, alongside millions living in poorly insulated homes, we expect many older and more vulnerable people to die this coming winter. Especially as gas prices are predicted to increase by over 30% and the price cap to go up to about £1,660 - almost £400 per household – something few can afford.
The joint demonstration in Westminster on Friday, 26 November 2021 will assemble at George V statue, Old Palace Yard at 12noon, with a rally outside Parliament. Protesters will then march on Downing Street to demand immediate help for those in fuel poverty.
NPC hopes as many people as possible from around the country will join the demonstration to condemn the government’s lack of action to help those in need and avoid so many unnecessary deaths.
NB: Most pensioners live on £10,000 a year or less, with only 545,000 of them paying tax at the higher rates, while around 6 million don’t earn enough to pay any tax at all.
*DOWNLOAD: Copy of letter to Prime Minister from NPC GS Jan Shortt.
*DOWNOAD: copy of Press release
Copy of template letter forwarded to NPC members to send to their local MPs, councillors and Mayors etc
The link to the ONS figures released on 26.11.21 at 9:30am is below