Monday, 28 October 2013

Britain in the winter of 2013-14, still a country full of cold, old men

In Britain, with winter approaching, four of the 'Big Six' energy companies have raised their prices of gas and electricity by about 10%, before the surge in demand, with the average combined bill now standing at £1,267 per year. Executives from the firms, which have been accused of acting as a cartel, will appear before Members of Parliament tomorrow to defend the sharp rises. Apparently, these companies operate with small profit and if Angela Knight, Chief Executive of 'Energy UK', is to be believed : “The profits here are, what, four to five per cent, four or five pence in the pound. That isn’t particularly big” and the companies were also making large investments in Britain and therefore had to have an “operating margin”.

Against this background the charity, 'Age UK' has :

* in a survey, found that 28% of pensioners said that their 'main concern' was keeping warm in the coming cold months and on that basis 3,000,000 old men and women fear they will not be able to do this in their own homes this winter.

* highlighted the fact that 36%  of old men and women aged 60 stay or live in just one heated room of their home to save money and 30% say they avoid heating rooms like the bedroom, bathroom or living room because they are worried about the cost.

* warned that cold weather and poorly heated homes increased the risk not only of influenza but also of heart attack and stroke and there are about 24,000 excess deaths, mostly of old people in a typical British winter, many of them preventable.

* said though its Director, Caroline Abrahams, that : “It’s vital for older people to keep warm, both inside and outside their homes in the winter months. Being cold, even for just a short amount of time, can be very dangerous, as it increases the risk of associated health problems and preventable deaths during the winter.”

* stressed that one of the main causes of cold homes for old people in Britain is poor insulation, with some of the worst levels of home energy efficiency in Europe.

I find that I have focussed, over the last three winters, on the fact that Britain is and continues to be a country with a shameful abundance of cold old men and women  :

In January 2013 :
Britain is a country where fewer old men than usual will die from the cold this winter because of a charity called Age UK and 'Spread the Warmth'

February 2012 :
Britain is no country for the cold, old men who will die this week
 November 2011 :

Britain, no country for poor old men who can't afford to heat their homes in what might be their last winter... fear not !

December 2010 :

Britain in a harsh winter is no place for old men

December 2010 :

Britain in the grip of severe winter weather is not just no country for old men but for anyone

February 2010 :

Britain this winter has been no place for old men but one with plenty of advice from the Government

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