In Finland it's -50c, so why do more people die here in Britain?

Temperatures plunge below -50C in Finland but the cold death rate there is half that of in Britain. Credit: Reuters

Central and local government have worked with the Met Office and NHS to come up with a masterplan of what we should all do for winter.

Forget the temperatures - the hard facts are spine chilling.

Some 24,000 avoidable deaths are down to winter each year in England and Wales.

Most are over 75s, and how about this for a dismal fact - that cold weather death rate is twice that of Finland - where temperatures plunge to minus 50c.

So what have our clever national planners come up with? Well-meaning as it is, I'm afraid many people will find it a glossy, 50-page detailing of the blooming obvious.

Even more worryingly, if you look carefully, most of the key recommendations will involve householders in even more cost:

  • set heating to 18 to 21°C - cost

  • Plan ahead with extra supplies - cost

  • Have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day - cost

  • Have your heating and cooking appliances checked regularly - cost

  • If needed make sure you have a supply of oil, LPG or solid fuel so you don't run out -cost

  • Insulate your water cylinder - cost

  • Stock up on tinned and frozen foods - cost

Of course, as usual, nobody is saying where over-stressed householders are going to get the dosh.

I look forward to the report that does so.