Elderly residents left facing grim choice as winter comes

FUEL POVERTY Many older people are struggling with rising bills.

FUEL POVERTY Many older people are struggling with rising bills.

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Three old people a day will die as a result of the cold in Kirklees and Calderdale this winter, a charity for the elderly in our district has said.

Judith Churley, of Age UK, labelled the figures – known as excess winter deaths – “shocking .” Four of the UK’s so-called ‘big six’ energy suppliers have recently announced plans to hike their prices by as much as 10 per cent from the middle of next month.

Age UK, which has a base in Batley Resource Centre, has seen a big increase in the number of people contacting them for help and advice this winter as our elderly struggle with rising fuel prices.

Mrs Churley said: “The level of anxiety is rising. People are concerned because bills are going up but they are not getting any more money. Something’s got to give.

“By nature elderly people spend more time indoors. Long periods spent below 15 degrees can be seriously damaging to their health.”

Age UK are able to offer help and advice to older people are struggling.

Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood said: “The choice people are being forced to make between heating or eating is well documented – and nothing short of scandalous in one of the world’s richest nations.

Mr Wood added: “The most vulnerable people in society are getting more vulnerable as energy companies raise their prices beyond what is justifiable while at the same time finding new and imaginative ways of obscuring the true extent of the profits they make.”