GMB: Age UK raises warning over raising energy costs
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The shocking news comes as Age UK issued a warning this week that pensioners ‘could freeze to death’ unless the Government takes immediate action. Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Age UK declared it a ‘national emergency’.
He said: “If they can’t afford to turn the heating on, it’s a case of whether they chose to stay warm or cut back on other essentials like food.”
Earlier this week, former Pensions Minister Ros Altmann demanded action and said it’s a case of life or death.
She said: “The problem for pensioners is that not being able to keep warm costs lives.
“We’re not just talking about being a bit strapped for cash, we’re talking about health deterioration or death.”
The wholesale cost of gas rose six times last year, against a backdrop of rising inflation leaving older people on low incomes struggling to survive.
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It’s not just older people who are battling to pay bills, Natasha and Gary Waterhouse told Good Morning Britain that their gas bill has increased £160 a month.
The couple from Moreton in Derbyshire used to have good jobs but poor health has forced them to give up work and rely on Universal Credit.
Natasha said: “I need the heat for my legs. If I don’t have any heat I get spasms.”
Husband Gary, who was on the verge of tears, added: “The gas is what’s affected by those bills but on top of that we’ve got electricity that’s on a pre-pay meter and we have to pay for that no matter what.”
He continued: “Natasha’s equipment is reliant on it so we have to choose which bill we can pay but unfortunately electricity is the priority.”
When asked by presenter Ben Sheppard if Government schemes like the Winter Fuel Payment or the Warm Homes Discount Scheme were any help, he replied that these were one off yearly payments that don’t touch the sides.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions told Good Morning Britain that systems are in place to help low income families and pensioners get through the cold winter months.
Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP asking for comment.
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Shocking statistics show that every winter one elderly person dies every seven minutes from the cold in England and Wales, according to Age UK.
The charity is calling for an additional £50 grant to be given to those who are eligible for Cold Weather payments.
Anyone who is struggling is urged to contact their local council to ask about additional money from the Household Support Fund – some Britons will have already received a letter.
Britons should also make sure they are receiving Winter Fuel Payments of up to £300 every winter and Cold Weather Payments of £25 if they are eligible.
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