UCL Institute of Health Equity Director Professor Sir Michael Marmot warns that ‘epidemic-levels’ of fuel poverty could cause a “significant humanitarian crisis with thousands of lives lost”. He also says children’s development could become “blighted” by the energy crisis
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of national fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) comments:
“For too long we have known cold homes cost lives. On average, about 80 people per day die during the winter months due to a cold home. The wider physical and mental health impacts are devastating, praying on the most vulnerable in our society – often striking those with the worst existing health conditions or in the most fragile mental states, the hardest.
“The physical and mental impacts on children are exceptionally harrowing too; cold, damp homes and poor nutrition often go hand in hand. This means babies struggle to gain weight, at the same time or later in the child’s development there is the increasing risk of serious breathing problems. In adolescents social isolation or worse, extreme anxiety, is all too common. These impacts often last a lifetime. As well as misery, this all puts immense, unwelcome strain on our already overstretched health service.
“Unlike many other health conditions, the impacts of cold homes are however entirely preventable. We have known for years that by taking action to boost incomes, reduce prices and enhance the quality of homes; everyone can live in a warm, safe home. Given the scale of the energy crisis, this currently feels like a pipedream but it’s exactly the challenge our next Prime Minister and new Cabinet face as early as next week. Lives will be saved if they get it right and lost if they don’t.”