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Pensioners and anti-poverty campaigners demanding government action on winter deaths

PENSIONERS and fuel poverty campaigners joined forces in London today, demanding government action to prevent thousands of vulnerable people from dying every winter. 

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) and campaign group Fuel Poverty Action (FPA) marched from Parliament to Downing Street to deliver a letter.

They highlighted figures from the Office for National Statistics that reveal 63,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales last year, 53,000 due to Covid-19 and 10,000 due to cold-related illnesses.

However, the NPC believe the true number people who died because they could not afford to heat their homes to be far higher.

NPC general secretary Jan Shortt said: “These figures are truly shocking, but the NPC fears that a lot of the older, poorer and more vulnerable people who tragically died from Covid would also have struggled to afford heating.

“This would be a terrible situation if they were suffering from coronavirus and trying to keep warm — and it may have also contributed to their illness.”

FPA co-director Ruth London said that a wealth tax on the richest 1 per cent of households in Britain — those with fortunes above £3.6m — could raise at least £70 billion a year, including cash to help vulnerable people survive winter.

TUC president Sue Ferns said: “Our shocking toll of excess winter deaths among older people is a national scandal. It shames one of the richest countries in the world.

“Instead of ditching the pensions triple lock next year, the government must take action to ensure that there is a decent state pension. 

“And at a time when fuel prices are rising rapidly, urgent action is needed to tackle fuel poverty.”

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