New ONS statistics released today highlight the scale of the ‘Dead of Winter’

Date: 27 November 2019

Contact: Sarah Wright, NEA. / 0191 269 2942 (out of hours – 07884371913).

New figures produced today [27th November] by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that 23,200 more people died in England and Wales during winter 2018-19 compared to the rest of the year. Despite figures dropping, charity National Energy Action (NEA) has said the numbers remain an “annual badge of shame”.

NEA Chief Executive Adam Scorer said:

“This is an annual badge of shame. Cold homes kill thousands of people each winter through respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases, influenza, and in a small number of cases, hypothermia. For the ‘dead of winter’, their homes were deathtraps. The figures may be down from last year, but that’s the luck of the weather, not Government action”.

The charity claims that up to 30% of the number of Excess Winter Deaths are likely to be attributable to the impact cold homes have on those with respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. They also highlight the impact the cold has on increasing trips and falls and in a small number of cases, direct hypothermia. NEA also says the number of needless deaths is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and many more people are suffering with poor physical and mental health with the resulting impact on health services costing the NHS between £1.4bn and £2bn every year, in England alone.

Scorer concludes:

”It doesn’t have to be this way. There has never been a greater opportunity to tackle cold homes and the seasonal epidemic of ill health and early death. All major UK party manifestos have recognised that we have to improve home energy efficiency if we want to end fuel poverty and tackle the climate emergency. The next government must build on this consensus to turn warm words into warm homes. Act now and they will save thousands of lives”.

The figures are released ahead of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday 29 November, when NEA and others will be highlighting the challenges facing those in cold homes and the solutions available.


  1. National Energy Action is the national charity working to ensure that everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can live in a warm home. For more information visit
  2. The Office for National Statistics defines the winter period as December to March, and compares the number of deaths that occurred in that period with the average number of deaths occurring in the preceding August to November and the following April to July. More information including the latest statics for Winter 2018-19 are available at
  3. The regional breakdown is below. For full details including methodology refer to the ONS bulletin.
Excess winter deaths 2018-19 – breakdown by region
Area name   Excess winter deaths
England and Wales 23,200
England 21,900
North East 1,300
North West 2,900
Yorkshire and The Humber 2,700
East Midlands 2,100
West Midlands 2,200
East 2,700
London 2,000
South East 3,500
South West 2,400
Wales 1,400
  1. Annual Excess Winter Deaths for the last 8 years are shown below. There is no data for Scotland or Northern Ireland for 2018/19 as data has not been released. Excess winter deaths due to cold homes is calculated as 30% of the overall figure (World Health Organisation, 2011)
Year EWD UK EWD England and Wales EWD England and Wales Due to Cold Homes
2011/2012 25990 24,040 7212
2012/2013 33770 31,160 9348
2013/2014 19350 17,310 5193
2014/2015 48810 43,850 13155
2015/2016 28060 24,580 7374
2016/2017 38260 34,530 10359
2017/2018 56300 50,100 15030
2018/19 23,200 6960
Latest 5 Year Average 42,858 35,252 10,576


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