The National Pensioners’ Convention will lead a funeral procession from Parliament to Downing Street in protest at the huge number of people dying from cold related illnesses.
NPC members dressed in black will carry a coffin representing the tens of thousands of annual ‘excess winter deaths’ set to be announced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday, 19th January 2023.
‘End scandal of thousands dying of cold’
Together with other organisations such as Fuel Poverty Action, and the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, we will assemble at 11.30am at the George V Statue (opp. Old Palace Yard), Westminster SW1P 3JY for speeches.
As Big Ben strikes 12noon, we will hold a Minutes’s Silence in memory of those who have died before slow marching to Downing Street to hand in a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling for immediate action to end this annual winter deaths scandal.
NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said: “It is absolutely shameful that anyone should die from a cold related illness in this country. In 2020-21 there were 63,000 excess winter deaths driven by cold and covid in England and Wales - up two thirds on the previous year. We fear the figures for 21-22 will be much, much higher due to the rocketing cost of living, rampant energy prices, and the disastrous crisis in the NHS and social care.
As a grim forewarning of the annual figures, the ONS announced the week before Christmas that the monthly number of winter deaths rose 2,500 on the previous month.*
Jan commented: “As the largest campaigning organisation for older people in the UK – those most at risk from cold related conditions - the NPC has a vested interest in challenging the causes of this scandal. Older people need to heat their homes more because they are often at home more, or are in ill health. This means they generally have to pay more to keep their homes warm.
“Sadly, this year’s deaths are likely to be a mere indicators for the current year, 2023 as older people continue to struggle with extraordinarily high heating and other costs. If the government doesn’t act, tens of thousands more will die.
“So we hope as many people as possible will join our protest on January 19th.”
The ONS has twice delayed the 2021 to 2022 (provisional) & 2020 to 2021 (final) for England and Wales, first due to be announced in November.
*New figures announced by the ONS in the week before Christmas show that excess Winter deaths for the month were the highest in two years. Approximately 2,500 more people died than usual in the week ending 23 December in England and Wales. The total death toll of 14,530 is 21 per cent higher than would be expected for this period, compared with averages from the last five years.
WINTER DEATHS DEMO, 11.30am, George V Statue (opposite Old Palace Yard) Westminister, London SW1P 3JY
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