The Office for National Statistics revealed today that “excess winter mortality” last year reached more than 18,000 deaths in England and Wales alone, with old people by far the most affected, and an estimated 30% (according to World Health Organisation) of these were due to the impact of living in cold homes.
Last winter was actually quite mild, so these figures were down on the previous year, when an estimated 10,000 deaths were attributed to the cold, while the Big Six energy companies recorded profits of £3.7 billion, helped no doubt by the lobbying skills of their trade association, “Energy UK”, based at Charles House in Lower Regent Street.
It was there this lunchtime, following a short march from Pall Mall and a brief die-in, that pensioners and other activists ignored the ‘protest pen’ and blockaded the doors of Energy UK with a peaceful and animated protest, while police redirected traffic around pensioner, Terry, who continued a one-man die-in.
In solidarity with cold people everywhere, legendary livestreamer, Obi worked in brightly-coloured pants, broadcasting speeches and chants from an array of group representatives (Fuel Poverty Action, Greater London Pensioners’ Association, Disabled People Against Cuts, Global Women’s Strike, All African Women’s Group, and Reclaim The Power) and other individuals.
In an attempt to confront fuel poverty, the campaign is calling for an Energy Bill of Rights, which has received the support of the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, who sponsored an Early Day Motion, signed so far by just 22 MPs, none of them from the Con-Dem coalition.
With an estimated 1 in 4 families having to making winter choices between food and heating, and more than 4 million homes in debt to energy companies, it is clear that this deadly situation must be changed.
Fuel Poverty Action have produced “Know Your Rights” information to help people struggling with energy bills, and they continue to campaign for a democratic, affordable and sustainable energy future.
More info at fuelpovertyaction.wordpress.com