I issued the following press release on 14.11.2005
Lynne Jones MP Backs National Campaign For Warm Homes
Lynne Jones MP is backing a national campaign that aims to highlight the plight of households who are unable to afford to heat their homes to adequate levels this winter.
The Warm Homes Campaign is the annual winter campaign organised by energy efficiency charity National Energy Action (NEA). The campaign aims to cut the number of excess winter deaths and reduce cold-related illnesses by raising awareness of the help available to people who cannot afford to heat their homes in winter.
MPs, Members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly Members around the country are supporting this year’s campaign, which is organised in association with Powergen, part of E.ON UK.
Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said: "The inability to afford adequate heating has serious consequences for individual households and society as a whole. We need to tackle low incomes and the poor energy efficiency standards in our housing so that no one has to worry about the cost of heating their home. I believe that in this day and age, no one should have to spend the winter in a cold, damp home simply because they can’t afford to put the heating on, that is why I am supporting the Warm Homes Campaign and an end to fuel poverty for all my constituents."
15% per cent of households in Birmingham Selly Oak are unable to afford to heat their homes. Cold homes affect people’s health and wellbeing and are linked to cardiovascular illnesses such as heart disease and strokes, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis. The elderly, families with young children, people with disabilities and others on low incomes are especially at risk from the dangers of cold homes.
There are an average 81 excess winter deaths* linked to cold homes every year in Selly Oak constituency. This year, higher fuel prices and the coldest winter for eight years could push the figure much higher.
William Gillis, NEA Chief Executive, said: "For millions winter brings poor health, isolation, debt and worry. We believe that this is unacceptable. The Government needs to provide greater resources to tackle fuel poverty and protect vulnerable householders from rapidly rising energy prices."
The key message, campaigners urge, is don’t become a statistic this winter. There is help available. Anyone who is worried about their winter fuel bill should call the Keep Warm Keep Well helpline on 0800 085 7000 for information and advice on keeping warm in winter, how to claim benefits, and to find out about energy efficiency grants.
Help the Aged are also campaigning on this issue and Dr Jones has tabled Parliamentary Motion, 960 EXCESS WINTER DEATHS to highlight research from the British Gas Help the Aged Partnership which is also trying to tackle fuel poverty (text below).
Garry Worthington, Social Affairs Manager at E.ON UK, said: "Powergen is one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, and, as such, we’re committed to helping people keep warm and well. That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting the Warm Homes Campaign as part of our overall strategy to help improve the awareness and take-up of the many measures available to those who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, thereby contributing to their overall well being."
Notes to the Editor
Text of EDM 960:
EXCESS WINTER DEATHS
That this House notes with concern recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of excess winter deaths in England and Wales are at their highest for five years; expresses great concern that deaths amongst older people have increased by 35 per cent. in just one year; further notes that excess winter deaths dropped in Scotland in the same period; further notes new research from the British Gas Help the Aged Partnership which shows that 1.5 million older households live without proper heating and insulation and that one in three households containing someone over 85 years live in homes that are sub-standard in terms of their thermal efficiency; expresses further concern about the risk of cold-related illness and mortality amongst older people this winter; welcomes the positive contribution that both the Government's Warm Front and energy supplier energy efficiency schemes have made to help meet Government targets to eradicate fuel poverty amongst vulnerable groups by 2010 and amongst all groups by 2016; and calls on the Government to increase investment in measures to reduce fuel poverty at this important time and to end means-testing of its Warm Front scheme so that all older households are supplied with central heating and insulation.
1. NEA is the national charity that tackles the heating and insulation problems of low-income households through improved energy efficiency. Fuel poverty is defined as spending more than 10% of household income on fuel costs. The Warm Homes Campaign is NEA's annual campaign targeted at the public and the country's decision makers to raise awareness of fuel poverty and the benefits of improved energy efficiency.
2. The Warm Homes Campaign is organised by NEA and Energy Action Scotland in association with energy supplier Powergen, part of E.ON UK, and supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England.
3. Powergen is part of E.ON UK, which is part of E.ON - the world’s largest private-sector energy services company.
Powergen is one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK with around six million electricity and gas residential and small business customers. Through its Home Energy Services business, Powergen also offers a range of additional home energy services including boiler and central heating installation, maintenance and insurance.
Powergen is the only energy supplier to offer two products specifically for older customers, through its StayWarm and Age Concern tariffs. Powergen also offers a range of free and discounted energy efficiency measures for all of its customers. For free energy efficiency advice customers should call 0500 20 10 00 or visit www.powergen.co.uk
Powergen will always look to support our most vulnerable customers through the establishment of a dedicated team within Social Affairs, who co-ordinate a suitable package of products and services.
3. As part of the Warm Homes Campaign, NEA organises activities for Members of Parliament throughout England and Assembly Members in Wales. In Scotland, NEA works with Energy Action Scotland, which is co-ordinating visits for Members of Scottish Parliament and MPs. Between Friday 25 November and Friday 2 December 2005 a range of seminars, events and activities, arranged by NEA and its member organisations, will involve people on low incomes, energy companies, local authorities and voluntary sector and consumer organisations
4. Warm Front is the primary source of grants for energy-efficiency improvements to those on low incomes. Warm Front offers the prospect of lower bills and increased warmth for the elderly, people with disabilities, lone-parent families and other vulnerable households. For more information about Warm Front call freephone 08000 720605 and quote MK 550.
5. Excess winter mortality is defined by the Office for National Statistics as the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding autumn (August to November) and the following summer (April to July). * = Five-year average.
For a Warm Homes Campaign press pack or details on other MPs' activities around the country, contact Alice Steel, NEA Press Officer, on 0191 261 5677 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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