November 24th, 2007
Posted by Cptn
The announcement that fuel prices are set to rise by 10 per cent come the new year is chilling news to the one in five older people in the South West who live in one room to keep warm and save money in winter.
The figures were released by Help the Aged as it battles to prevent the winter deaths caused by fuel poverty.
And the much-heralded Governmental support of these vulnerable members of society is called into question with £4.5 billion of unclaimed benefits for older people swishing around in a drawer somewhere.
As Anna Pearson, British Gas Help the Aged Partnership spokesperson, told the PRSD: “Each year over 25,000 older people lose their lives to a preventable cold-related illness. In the South West alone, between 2000-2006 the number of excess winter deaths for older people was over 14,500. The Government is literally gambling with people’s lives by not doing nearly enough to end fuel poverty. The Government has a potential jackpot of £4.5 billion waiting for older people, but it dangles this vital cash behind a complex maze of means-tested benefits and as a result, money continually fails to reach those who need it to survive.
“If it is serious about meeting its fuel poverty target, central and local government must commit more funding to face-to-face services, such as the British Gas Help the Aged Partnership Benefits Advice Programme. It’s time to stop the cheating and start the heating.”
Help the Aged is pushing the campaign ‘you’ve got to claim it to gain it’ in an attempt to increase the odds of older people receiving the benefit they need to survive the winter. There’s also a Your Winter Warm UP pack available if you call British Gas Help the Aged Partnership on 0870 7700 446
Entry Filed under: Society