Pensioners lead protest as winter deaths revealed
- Numbers of Excess Winter Deaths today announced as 18,200 for winter 2013/2014.
- Campaigners welcomed this fall in the number of deaths, but warned that it appears to be linked to an exceptionally warm winter. The Met Office announced that last year temperatures were 1.5 oC above the average and there was a notable absence of frosts. 
- According to the World Health Organisation, at least 1/3rd of excess winter deaths are due to cold homes. 
- The Greater London Pensioners’ Association are targeting energy tradesbody Energy UK on day the government reveals the number of Excess Winter Deaths, alongside Fuel Poverty Action and direct action group Reclaim the Power.The march to Energy UK will be led by a pensioners’ ‘Grey Block’ where a ‘powerful and creative’ action will take place.
Pensioner, poverty and climate action groups are today targeting the energy trade association Energy UK on the day that the Office of National Statistics figures revealed there was 18,200 Excess Winter Deaths in 2013/2014. The action called ‘No More Deaths from Fuel Poverty: Energy Rights Now!’ will see a protest gathering outside the Institute of Directors on Pall Mall before a march to Energy UK where a ‘powerful and creative’ action will take place. The groups will also stage a ‘teach-in’ on Regents Street on ‘Energy Rights’, including advice on how to get energy bill debt written off and what to do to stop energy suppliers installing unwanted prepayment meters.
The ‘Grey Block’ of pensioners is meeting outside Charing Cross station at 11am, and will then move to meet and lead the main action.
In 2012/2013 10,000 people died due to living in a cold home, with the Big Six energy companies making £3.7bn profit in that year – equivalent to £370,000 profit made for each person who died.
Mary Smith from Fuel Poverty Action said:
“We’re really relieved by the fall in winter deaths last year. But when the Met Office have said that last winter was exceptionally mild, it’s all the more shocking that a town’s worth of people died because of cold temperatures. Energy UK offers us more of the same – deaths and illness from cold homes we can’t afford to heat, debt and insecurity for millions. Some of the most vulnerable people in this country are at the mercy of the cold hearted Big Six and governments that tow their line, and every more chaotic climate induced weather. Winter deaths are preventable. We need affordable, sustainable energy owned by us and in our interests, and we need millions of homes to be insulated properly.”
Sam Cole from Reclaim the Power said:
“Young and old, black and white, we are uniting and fighting for a future of equality and dignity. These energy companies are robbing millions of us whilst simultaneously abusing our planet through pursuing dirty, unsustainable fossil fuels. We have had enough.”
Preventing catastrophic climate change is the greatest challenge we have ever faced and we can’t rise to this challenge using the same failed market solutions that the fossil fuel industry and government keep forcing on us. There is no democratic mandate for a privatised energy system or fracking or other fossil fuels in the UK. Time and time again, people have said they want renewable, publicly owned energy. This is the safest and sanest solution. It’s time to fight for it.