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Britain’s freezing homes, ‘a silent killer’

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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.”

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Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults

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DOMESTIC abuse victims in Wales and England to be given more time to report assaults.

New measures targeted directly at keeping women and girls safer will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last week (Jan 4) the UK Government has announced.

Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.

Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution.Domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes; so this will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions.

The UK Government says that today’s announcement builds on measures already in the Bill to better protect women such as ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced between four and seven years in prison for serious sexual offences – forcing them to spend two-thirds of their time in prison.

In December, the legislation was amended to make clear that a new legal duty requiring public bodies to work together to tackle serious violence can also include domestic abuse and sexual offences.

It means that these crimes should be taken as seriously as knife crime and homicide, with police, government, and health bodies required to collaborate locally, so that they can develop more holistic strategies to protect people from harm, including through early intervention.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “My commitment to making our homes, streets and communities safer for women and girls is clear.”

“Every department in government is working to address and tackle all issues relating to violence against women and girls.”

“The Government has a focussed strategy, dedicated to providing essential support for survivors, the prevention of crimes against women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice with the full force of the law.”

“Our actions include the new Domestic Abuse Act, with important changes to our laws; a newly created national police lead responsible solely on violence against women and girls, and millions of pounds have been invested in direct safety measures through the Safer Streets Fund.”

“These are all important public confidence measures and changes to ensure the safety of women and girls in public spaces.”

The UK Government has also said that taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

It covers situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.

Similar legislation introduced by the UK Government in 2019 that criminalised “up skirting” has led to more than 30 prosecutions since it became law.

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Club Logic announces last two events as venue plans to diversify in 2022

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AFTER latest government advice, Club Logic announces its two last events: the Christmas Party with headliner David Rust, and their closing party, the Ultimate Boxing Day Classics event.

Yesterday the Welsh Government’s complete closure of all Nightclubs for the foreseeable future with effect from midnight December 27th, came as a massive shock to many, and is another massive setback for the already suffering Welsh music and leisure industries sector.

The owner/promoters of Club Logic have hosted some of the most groundbreaking club nights that Wales has ever seen and in the face of great adversity caused by Covid, they reopened the venue, in accordance to government guidelines. 

With diversification already in the pipeline for Club Logic, which will transform it into the Gorseinon Entertainments Centre, The venue manager Cheryl Trotman said: “we are looking forward to the launch of our new venture and will be announcing the launch date, as soon as we have clarity from the government. But for now though, we are concentrating on finishing 2021 in true style.”

Their legendary festive Black Friday Christmas Party and Boxing Night Classics event are well known, revered and always well attended. As these will be the two last ever promotions in the venue as you know it, you can guarantee that both will go off with a bang!

Tonight’s Christmas event (Friday 17th December) features Scottish trance stalwart David Rust with support from Billy Gillies, Will Rees and support DJs. Tickets have been flying out and such is the appetite for a proper Christmas cracker, the opening times have been moved forward, and the doors open: 6pm – 4am, and early arrival is advised!

Then on Sunday 26th December,  Club Logic’s closing party will be their last ever Boxing Night’s Classics event. The doors open at 5pm and the management, DJ’s and everyone involved, will be closing the club in true Logic style. Supplying the aural delights will be DJ’s: Alan Sykes, Andrew Butty Davies, Ben Saunders, Callan Christie, Rhys Thomas, Rob Rees and Simon Davies. The event will of course finish at the stroke of midnight. 

Venue address: Club Logic, 12 High Street, Gorseinon, Swansea SA4 4BX.

For info please visit: https://www.facebook.com/logicmusicevents

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Happy Christmas from Halifax as HGV driver wins £100,000

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Timothy Davies is 61 and lives in Llanelli with his partner, Amy and his daughter. He has worked as an HGV driver for over 40 years.

ONE lucky Halifax saver will be celebrating in style this festive season after he found out he’d won the top £100,000 prize in the Halifax Savers Prize Draw.

Timothy Davies, an HGV driver from Llanelli, Wales, received the news and said he was “completely overwhelmed.”

Mr Davies, 61, has banked with Halifax for 26 years and couldn’t believe his luck when bank colleague Sam Borsden-Doyle of Llanelli branch told him he was the winner of £100,000.

Mr Davies said: “I have never won anything in my life and I never thought I stood a chance of winning. I am shocked and completely over the moon – my partner didn’t believe me!

“I plan to use the money to help with my daughter’s education and purchase a buy to let to help me when I retire. I will also use it to pay for laser treatment on my eyes and I hope to plan some travel. In the meantime, we are planning an extra special Christmas this year.

“I am truly overwhelmed to receive £100,000 and I want to thank everyone at Halifax.”

The Halifax Savers Prize Draw* rewards over 1,600 savers every month, with prizes ranging from £100 all the way to £100,000. 

The draw is now in its 10th year and, over the past decade, Halifax has paid prize money of over £75 million to nearly 160,000 customers. Over £6 million has been won in 2021 alone.

Russel Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: “We’ve been running our Savers Prize Draw for a whole decade now and we’re thrilled for Tim as one of our recent £100,000 top prize winners – it’s always wonderful to hear how much of a difference the prizes make to people’s lives. The whole team are always so excited when we make calls to our winners each month and we’ve certainly made lots of them, as we’ve now given away over £75 million to nearly 160,000 customers. We’re looking forward to congratulating many more winners in 2022 and beyond.”

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