54 people in Doncaster die each year due to cold weather-related ailments
A town MP is supporting calls to warm up some of the coldest homes in the area after it was revealed more than 50 people die each winter in Doncaster.
Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband said more needs to be done after the latest figures for the borough show some 54 people on average have died each winter due to cold weather-related ailments for the last five years.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the number of people who died prematurely in winter 2014-15 were two and half times higher than in the previous winter.
Across Yorkshire there were 4,100 deaths in the last financial year compared to 1,810 in 2013-14.
Mr Miliband met residents living in mobile homes at Wittsend Park, Arksey, to discuss the problem.
Residents living in static mobile homes are not eligible for the same grants to help with heating and insulation as those living in traditional properties. Chris Sharp, who lives at the site, said: “We do feel the cold more in these kind of properties – it is harder to keep warm.
“We pay the same rates as people living in bricks and mortar properties in the village yet we are not entitled to the same grants to help with heating and insulation.
“It doesn’t seem fair and something needs to be done about this.”
Resident Eileen Gilmour added: “Gas bottles are around £44 and you can easily go through one every three weeks in winter so it is expensive.”
Mr Miliband said: “Thousands of older people die each winter from cold weather across the country, including dozens here in Doncaster.
“Many of these deaths could be prevented if everyone lived in a warm home.
“The government’s energy efficiency programmes have not gone nearly far enough to help older people keep warm in their own homes, and more needs to be done – particularly to help people living in prefabricated homes.”
Mr Miliband added: “Energy prices have risen rapidly over the last five years but no effective action has been taken to improve the efficiency of older homes, such as the park homes I visited in Arksey.
“The government needs to overhaul its programmes so no older person has to worry about the cold and everyone is able to keep warm and well in winter.”
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “I’m very concerned about fuel poverty and cold homes, which is why I introduced the Big Power Switch, our solar panel project, and we have undertaken a range of insulation work with St Leger Homes on council-owned housing.
“I fully support Ed Miliband’s call for the government to do more in order to help people keep their homes warm and dry, particularly those who live in pre-fabricated properties.”
It is estimated that fuel poverty, where people cannot afford to heat their home, costs the NHS around £1.3bn every year.