Heating costs ‘much higher’ for older people as conditions ‘made much worse by cold’

Rishi Sunak outlines government help for ’significant’ price hikes

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The UK is in the grips of surging inflation and soaring energy bills, with pensioners hit particularly hard by the rising cost of living. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has come under fire for his response.

Dennis Reed, Director of Silver Voices, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to share his concerns over the current cost of living crisis and how this is impacting pensioners all over the country.

A package was announced by the Chancellor last week which is aimed at helping Britons through these difficult economic times, but Mr Reed expressed his displeasure at a lack of solutions for older people.

He said: “The package the Chancellor announced last week comes nowhere near meeting the scale of the problem.

“There is nothing in there for poor pensioner households at all to help them cope with the cost of living crisis.”

He pointed out that some poor households already get their Council Tax fully subsidised, so they would not be able to claim an additional £150 discount.

Mr Reed continued: “The £200 loan doesn’t kick in until October, and the crisis is now.

“And of course it is only a loan, so it’s hardly great support, it is just simply backloading the problem.

An extension to the Warm Home Discount was confirmed for next winter, but Mr Reed feels this is not enough to tackle the problems which are present today.

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He said: “It doesn’t kick in until next winter, they’re only increasing it by £10 from £140 to £150 and it only applies in England and Wales.

“If that’s the sole targeted measure, extending the eligibility for the Warm Home Discount by a few hundred thousand, but increasing it by £10, that is a pretty pathetic response. It’s not really going to help many people at all.”

Mr Reed believes older people are more likely to be affected by the current issues with rising energy prices, as the cost of staying warm during the cold winter months grows more expensive.

He said: “We have to emphasise that older people are in a different situation to working households.

“Because they’re basically at home all day, often in cold weather, they need to have, for their own health, the heating on throughout the day, at least at a low level.

“Obviously, if you’re out of the house working, you don’t need the heating on during the day, you only have it on in the evening and first thing in the morning.

“So the costs are much higher for older people of heating their home.”

He also said that there are a number of medical conditions which are made much worse by cold weather which older people suffer from disproportionately.

Mr Reed explained: “Chronic arthritis is a really good example of this, but also many chest and respiratory complaints which older people often have, are made much worse by cold weather.

“That’s what’s so worrying about the fact that so many people are telling me that they’re switching off their heating, because their health is going to suffer greatly from doing that.

“It should be something the Government can guarantee to everyone. What’s the point of a Government if they’re not guaranteeing that everybody can keep warm during the winter?

“The current situation is that a lot of older people can’t keep warm during the winter, because of this cost of living crisis.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We know this has been a challenging time for many people, which is why we’re providing support worth around £12bn this financial year and next to help households across the country with the cost of living. A further £9bn was announced by the Chancellor last week to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices. Combined with last year’s 2.5 percent increase to pensions, we have ensured pensioners’ incomes have been protected.

“Our winter fuel payments are supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills and we are continuing to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits it can provide, to make a claim.”

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