Number of Scots dying in winter is indefensible, blast charities

Web couple under blanket trying to keep warm in the cold

Worst winter death figures in more than a decade prompt charities to demand change

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20th October 2015 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

More than 4,000 Scots died last winter because their homes were too cold for them to cope, new statistics suggest.

In the four months from December 2014 to March 2015 a total of 22,011 people died, according to the National Records of Scotland - just over 4,000 more than those who died in the four month period before and the four month period after.

The extra winter deaths figure is the worst since 1999/2000 – with charities firmly blaming “cold, energy-wasting, hard-to-heat homes” as the reason.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland, Age Scotland, and WWF Scotland say the death toll is “indefensible” and are demanding Scotland’s political parties commit to improving the housing stock in order to protect the ill and vulnerable.

“It's indefensible that cold, hard-to-heat homes continue to leave the most vulnerable in our society at the mercy of cold weather each winter,” RCN Scotland’s director, Theresa Fyffe said.

Number of Scots dying in winter is indefensible, blast charitiesLang Banks, WWF Scotland director

We urge all the political parties to commit to eliminating the scourge of cold, energy-wasting, hard-to-heat homes in Scotland

“Nurses are on the frontline of caring for patients and are all too familiar with the stories behind these winter mortality statistics.

“Ending cold homes and cutting fuel bills through improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes should be a priority for political parties coming in to next year’s Scottish Parliament election.”

Age Scotland’s Greg McCracken added: “The poor condition of Scotland's existing housing stock means much of the energy which older people use trying to stay warm will be lost, something many can ill-afford.

“That's why a comprehensive and long-term approach to ridding Scotland of cold and draughty homes is critical if we are to ensure figures like these are consigned to the history books."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said Scotland is way behind its Nordic neighbours, who despite having colder climates have less of a problem with increased winter mortality.

 “Improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes would make a significant contribution to reducing the number of vulnerable people who die each winter from the effects of cold homes,” he said.

“In addition to improving public health, insulating all homes to a ‘C’ standard would also create up to 9,000 jobs a year, cut fuel bills and help tackle climate emissions.

“We urge all the political parties to commit to eliminating the scourge of cold, energy-wasting, hard-to-heat homes in Scotland.”

The latest call comes just a week after an alliance of over 50 civic organisations called on the Scottish Government to end cold homes in Scotland by 2025, by improving the energy efficiency of homes.

20th October 2015 by Philip Smith-Lawrence

This should not be happening! There are inexpensive solutions that go someway to reducing heating costs, and saving lives. "Fuel Poverty Initiative. " by @FuelPovertyUK on @LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fuel-poverty-initiative-philip-smith-lawrence