Thousands of Calderdale residents are struggling to heat their homes as the country faces an energy bill crisis.
This week, an Energy Bill Revolution has been sparked during Age UK’s Cold Homes Week - calling for more to be done to tackle fuel poverty and reduce the number of winter deaths.
There were more than 100 excess deaths in Calderdale last winter.
Escalating fuel prices means some of the lives of our most vulnerable members of the community are at risk as many older men and women can’t afford to keep warm during some of the coldest months of the year.
UK homes are some of the least energy efficient in Europe - leaking heat from doors, walls and windows. This means energy bills are rocketing and fuel poverty is getting worse.
Each year in the UK, an average of 25,000 people die from cold conditions - with a third of these deaths caused by living in cold houses.
Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees corporate operations executive, Alison Marsh, said: “Cold Homes Week is a week of action organised by the biggest ever public campaign and alliance to end fuel poverty through the Energy Bill Revolution.
“At Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees we believe that many of these excess winter deaths and problems could be prevented if everyone lived in a warm home.
“That’s why we are calling on all political parties to commit to making millions of homes much more efficient, starting with the poorest and most energy inefficient homes.
Such an approach would not only improve older people’s health and wellbeing and save lives; it would also bring down consumer bills and lift millions out of fuel poverty.”
The Energy Bill Revolution, championed by Community Foundation for Calderdale, other foundations, charities, organisations and politicians is calling on the government to make homes more energy efficient and prioritising homes of the poor - with grants for low income homes.
Halifax MP Linda Riordan, has backed the national campaign. She said: “This is a really important campaign which has my full support.
“In 2015 no one in our society should suffer the ignomy of living in a cold home. The energy revolution proposals are a welcome step forward. They are achievable, affordable and equitable. It’s time they were implemented in full.”
For warmer homes and lower bills, sign the petition at www.energybillrevolution.org
Calderdale Council and the Calderdale Affordable Warmth Partnership support a range of activities to help those at greatest risk from living in a cold home.
The Council’s deputy leader, Coun Scott Benton, said: “We are supporting this vital national campaign to raise awareness of the issues faced by people who live in cold homes.
“We’re reminding residents that we provide a range of support services to help them stay warm and save on their fuel bills.
“Making cold homes more energy efficient will help in a number of ways, including reducing energy bills and ill health, improving academic achievement in younger people and cutting carbon emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels.”
For advice on how to make your home warmer visit the Council’s website at www.calderdale.gov.uk/housing or contact the Housing Energy Action Team on 01422 392479.
There is also lots of practical advice on how to be prepared for winter at www.calderdale.gov.uk/winter