Charity Age UK has said that the ONS figures on rising winter deaths should be cause for "national shame" because of a "failure to address the scandal of cold homes" in the UK.
It should be a cause of national shame that last year’s cold weather claimed so many lives unnecessarily. Excess winter deaths are preventable and today’s figures are a damning indictment of our failure to address the scandal of cold homes in this country.
Cold homes are caused by a number of factors including poor insulation and high energy costs, and are a major cause of excess winter deaths.1 In fact those living in the coldest homes are three times more likely to die a preventable death than those living in warmer ones.
The Cold Weather Plan for England says there are "too many avoidable deaths each winter", with just over 24,000 each year in England and Wales.
The plan was published by Public Health England in collaboration with the Department of Health, NHS England and the Local Government Association.
In colder weather, keeping yourself warm is essential to staying healthy, especially for the very young, older people or those with a chronic condition such as heart disease and asthma.
There are a range of health problems associated with cold housing and winter weather, but in particular, a cold indoor or outdoor environment can make heart and respiratory problems worse, and can be fatal.
– Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director at Public Health England