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UK Winter Deaths Up By 30,000 In Big Freeze

Nathan Rao, Daily Express

BRITAIN’S relentless big freeze has sparked fears of the highest winter death rate for five years. The brutal Arctic blast has seen temperatures plummet to -13C (9F) amid what could be the coldest March for almost three decades.

Pensioner groups warned the death rate among Britain’s elderly has already soared this winter with fears it could hit 30,000 – 6,000 more than last year.

The National Federation of Occupational Pensioners (NFOP) said deaths among its members had more than quadrupled since the end of last year.

Chief executive Malcolm Booth said this could escalate to “horrendous figures” if the extreme cold continues.

He said almost 500 NFOP members died last month compared to just 102 in December, and double the January figure.

He said: “We have seen the death rate in the past month alone quadruple since December last year and if the cold weather continues we could be looking at horrendous figures.

“At the rate we are going, and if this extreme cold continues we could be looking at 30,000 or more.

“Many elderly health conditions are worsened by cold weather and there is a definite risk of the highest national winter mortality figures since 2008-09.”

The last time the excess winter deaths passed 30,000 was the winter of 2008/09 when 36,450 people died, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

National Pensioners Convention (NPC) spokesman Neil Duncan-Jordan said: “During periods of extreme cold, death rate figures among the elderly are likely to rise.

“The economic climate is not helping and people are only able sometimes to heat one or two rooms, many pensioners will be very concerned.

“This winter we are concerned the death rate will rise as elderly people are struggling with the extreme and unusual cold and the rising price to heat their homes.”

Parts of the country have seen the mercury drop to well below freezing over the past few days with daytime highs struggling to get much higher.

Government forecasters warned the extreme cold could last until the end of the week as bitter winds sweep in from northern Europe.

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