COLD homes are a bigger killer than road accidents, alcohol or drug misuse, new research shows.
During the Coalition Government’s five years in power, 46,700 people have died simply because they live in cold homes.
Analysis of official data by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) today reveals, for the first time, the number of deaths each year directly related to cold homes. This represents 30% of the total number of Excess Winter Deaths according to the World Health Organisation.
The new figures from ACE estimate that this winter (2014/15) has been the deadliest in the last five years, with two thirds more cold homes deaths than the average.
The Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s largest fuel poverty campaign, has slammed the Coalition for failing to live up to its rhetoric on cold homes.
Over 46,000 people have backed an Avaaz petition which was delivered to George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander today demanding that all parties prioritise using infrastructure funds to invest in home energy efficiency in their manifestos which are due to be finalised this week.
Campaigners point to a long list of Government failures throughout the last Parliament which have seen an unprecedented fall in the support available to people who can’t afford to heat their homes:
- The Coalition has cut the Energy Companies Obligation, presided over Green Deal debacle, and abolished schemes like Warm Front.
- The most effective way to bring down energy bills is to install energy efficiency measures which can save a household more than £400 per year. But the amount of energy efficiency support available to the fuel poor has plummeted 80% in the last two years. This year saw the lowest number of families since 2002 receive Government insulation support to keep their homes warm, according to today’s ACE research.
The Government boasts about installing energy efficiency measures in 1 million households under their new schemes but if they had kept to their old schemes, 2.8 million households would have received them. As a result 1.8 million families have missed out on home improvements during the Parliament.
Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution, said: “Cold homes are one of the most deadly killers in Britain today, but this silent menace is too often ignored because it happens behind closed doors. The evidence shows that insulation support for the fuel poor has plummeted through the floor during this Parliament. The Government must step up and put a stop to these unnecessary deaths, by committing infrastructure funds to home energy efficiency and ending our cold homes crisis once and for all.”
Today’s figures show that cold homes killed more people in 2013 than carbon monoxide, fire, assault, and road/rail accidents combined.
Britain is second only to Estonia for fuel poverty in Europe, and cold homes have led to more people admitted to hospital with breathing problems than Sweden over the past five years.
The NHS is bearing the burden of this Government failure. Cold homes cost the NHS £1.36billion every year, according to Age-UK.
Leaky and cold homes are a cause of illnesses including chronic lung disease, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.
According to consultants Cambridge Econometrics, investing just 3% of the infrastructure budget in energy efficiency would take 2 million homes out of fuel poverty by 2020. Such a programme would increase UK GDP by £13.9billion a year by 2030 and create 108,000 new jobs.
Mass public support saw the Energy Bill Revolution’s campaign video recently go viral. The video of political leaders singing a spoof version of Frozen hit ‘let it go’ reached 5 million people.
Sam Barratt, Campaign Director of Avaaz said: “David Cameron may think insulating homes is ‘green crap’, but having a warm home can be the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable in our society. It really is a disgrace that only Estonia has worse fuel poverty than Britain in Europe. All parties must commit to radical action using infrastructure funds to insulate homes to save lives in their manifestos to stop this country’s cold home killer.”
Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages
Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.
Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.
More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.
“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.
“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”
Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative
Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.
Dumped rubbish cost Llanelli man hundreds of pounds
A Llanelli man has been ordered to pay over £600 after his household waste was found dumped in a quarry in Llwynhendy.
Robin Adam Collins of Pottery St, Llanelli, admitted failing to ensure his waste was deposited legally when he appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court.
The court heard that Carmarthenshire County Council enforcement officers visited Genwen Quarry following a complaint from the public of waste being dumped there.
Officers found a large pile of household waste including black and blue bags, plastic and cardboard.
After recovering items, the rubbish was traced back to a property in Pottery Street.
When officers visited the property the 43-year-old admitted the waste had belonged to him and his partner but claimed that he had paid a man named Alex who he found on Facebook to take his rubbish away. Collins was unable to provide any further information as to the identity of the person who he claimed had transported his waste. He was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). After failing to pay Carmarthenshire Council took the matter to court.
Collins was fined £120 and was ordered to pay £458.36. He must also pay £32 victim surcharge.
Carmarthenshire Council’s Executive Board Member for Public Protection, Philip Hughes said: “Every householder has a responsibility to ensure their waste is disposed of in the proper manner. It is also their responsibility to ensure that whoever they choose to engage the services of to remove any waste is a licenced waste carrier. If not, and your waste is found dumped then we will not hesitate to take action and if necessary go to court.”
Commissioner proud of ‘Seaside Kicks’ project
POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn proud of new youth initiative in Llanelli area – Seaside Kicks.
Following funding from the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, a new youth initiative has been set up in partnership with Swansea City Football Club Community Trust. Seaside Kicks was launched in Llanelli in January 2020 to engage the youth of the Glanymor and Tyisha area in positive activities.
Having only begun in January, already more than 150 young people in the area participate on a weekly basis. They take part in various practical activities with the Seaside Kicks, such as football coaching sessions, as well as informal sessions that addressing crime issues.
Whilst visiting one of the sessions that are being held on Ysgol Penrhos’ 3G field, Llanelli on 25 February 2020, Dafydd Llywelyn said “I am privileged to be here to see for myself the positive influence an initiative such as Seaside Kicks is having on the youth here, and the wider community. As a sports enthusiast, and having played football at many levels in my youth, I am fully aware of the influence that sport and exercise have on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in general.”
The initiative is run through the English Premier League’s ‘Kicks’ national program, and is delivered locally by Swansea City Football Club Community Trust. The program aims to use football and sport in general to inspire youth living in deprived areas.
Craig Richards from the Swansea City FC Community Trust, said “Premier League Kicks provides free weekly football sessions and educational workshops to young people, giving them opportunities, support and pathways to reach their full potential and divert them away from crime or criminals. It was a pleasure to welcome the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn to Seaside Kicks session to see so many young people having great fun in a safe environment”.
Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward added, “We were delighted to welcome the Commissioner to ‘Seaside Kicks’ whose funding has helped to make this happen. This is partnership work at its best. It is a pleasure to link up with the Swansea City Football Community Trust, Police and Crime Commissioner, our PCs and PCSO’s, Ysgol PenRhos, Seaside AFC, Llanelli Town Council and the Community Safety Partnership in bringing forward such an exciting project.
“My thanks go to all the young people who are really enjoying and their parents who continue to turn out in such great numbers to support these sessions.
“Given its overwhelming success, the next step now should be to make ‘Kicks’ a permanent project in Glanymor Community.”
The investment in Seaside Kicks is part of a wider investment by the Commissioner in the Glanymor and Tyisha areas. Both areas have been identified as some of the most deprived areas in Wales. The Commissioner has allocated funds of £50,000 towards community projects and initiatives in these areas.
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