Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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MP slams government as excess winter deaths more than double

Dudley MP Ian Austin has warned the Government over new figures showing that winter deaths have more than doubled.

The Office for National Statistics has released a new report estimating that there were 43,900 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2014-15, more than twice the total of 17,460 for the previous year. People aged over 75 are the worst affected.

Excess winter deaths are defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in the winter months of December to March and the average number of deaths which occurred in the rest of the year. Experts at the World Health Organisation say up to half of excess winter deaths are caused by cold homes and poor insulation.

Austin has written to the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd warning that winter deaths in his own constituency of Dudley North are set to rise sharply from an average of 42 over the past five years.

He is joining campaigners to call for more action to insulate homes and a tougher watchdog to ensure that energy companies cut bills when wholesale energy prices are low.

Ian Austin said:

“These shocking figures show that hundreds of people across the Midlands are needlessly dying from cold weather.

“Instead of cutting funding for insulation schemes by two-thirds, the Government needs to offer real help for the 2.35 million households in fuel poverty.

“I’m calling on the Government to help those in need insulate their homes and crack down on energy companies that fail to cut bills when energy prices fall.”

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