Government cuts to blame for winter deaths: MP

Julie Cooper MP

Julie Cooper MP

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Burnley MP Julie Cooper has blamed Government cuts on a rise in winter deaths.

Mrs Cooper was speaking as figures released by the Office of National Statistics predict that the number of people dying prematurely this winter are two and half times higher than in the previous winter.

In Burnley the reported number of excess deaths has averaged 44 a year over the past five years. However, since the total for England and Wales has leapt from 17,460 to 43,900 it is almost certain that Burnley too will see a worrying growth in figures.

The number of excess winter deaths is defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in the winter months of December to March and the average number of deaths which occurred in the rest of the year.

The World Health Organisation says that between 30 and 50% of excess winter deaths are caused by poorly insulated cold homes.

The Office of National Statistics’ figures show that fatalities in women have more than doubled with people aged over 75 worst affected.

Mrs Cooper said: “These new figures show thatthe cuts are really hurting our most vulnerable neighbours. These figures are truly shocking, particularly as this huge rise happened over one of the mildest winters in recent years. As the weather turns cold we are gravely concerned for the many people living in fuel poverty in Burnley.

“Regrettably it will be those on low incomes and in poor quality housing who will suffer because of this Government’s lack of investment.”