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One Million Brits Dead In Winter Scandal

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Alastair Grant, Daily Star

WINTER weather has killed a million Brits since the 1980s and will kill a million more by 2050, experts have warned.

Age support groups and doctors blame poor housing, high energy bills and pensioner poverty.

Many killed by the cold are elderly but the ill, vulnerable and very young also die.

A total of 973,000 people died due to winter weather from 1982/83 to 2011/12, Office of National Statistics data for England and Wales shows.

Pensioner organisations warned the current colder-than-average winter will kill more than 26,000 people by the end of March – as Britain’s winter death toll reaches a million in just 30 years.

The death toll since 1982/83 covers the period of the Government’s Keep Warm, Keep Well winter health campaign, launched after average winter deaths in the early 1980s soared to 42,000.

ONS data shows another million Brits will be killed by winters by 2050, based on the average of 27,400 cold weather deaths per winter in the last five years.

Doctors say cold weather causes higher blood pressure, tightened airways and reduced body temperature, increasing deaths from heart attacks, strokes and respiratory illnesses – and worsening asthma and bronchitis.

The National Pensioners Convention called winter death rates a “national scandal”, blaming ministers for not doing enough to tackle high bills and low pensioner incomes.

Age UK said “tens of thousands” will die every winter unless the Government makes “major investments” in domestic energy efficiency.

Poor home insulation contributes to Britain having a worse winter death rate than almost every country in Europe, University College Dublin expert John Healy said.

Britain’s death rate leaps 18% in winter – almost double the 10% increase in freezing Finland, where home insulation is better.

Five thousand people die every winter as they face paying more than 10% of their income on energy bills, Government fuel poverty review chief Professor John Hills said.

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