Energy bills horror: Fears ‘unprecedented numbers’ of pensioners will die this winter

Age UK warned the next Prime Minister that “unprecedented numbers” of pensioners could die of cold this winter unless the Government steps in to help with crippling energy bills. Britain is facing an energy crisis nightmare, as industry analysts Cornwall Insight forecasts average annual energy bills could reach £4,266 as soon as January next year. Charity National Energy Actions reports that one in three – equivalent to 8.2 million UK households – could be forced into fuel poverty as a result.

The charity has sent an urgent plea to both candidates, calling on them to offer further emergency support for pensioners and low income families.

They also urged for the pensions triple lock to be restored, which is a guarantee that pensions rise in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5 percent.

The group also revealed that a massive survey of 14,000 over-65s they conducted found that 57 percent of the voters wanted to see the triple lock restored and for the Government to step in with further help with soaring bills and inflation.

Age UK director, Caroline Abrahams said: “The way the cost of living keeps rising is a nightmare for us all, but especially for people on low incomes, among them millions of pensioners.

“Substantial numbers are struggling financially already, but if the economic forecasts are accurate many more pensioners will be plunged into serious trouble come the autumn and winter, including some who until very recently believed their position to be totally secure.

“Older people and others in our society on low incomes will also need a big injection of extra financial support from the government to see them through the autumn and winter because inflation is so rapidly eroding the help they were given just a few months ago.

“If this doesn’t happen our sincere belief is that we could see unprecedented numbers of older people dying of cold in their own homes, something we would never say lightly and that is incredibly shocking in the 21st century.”

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The survey also found that aside from pension triple locks and energy bill support, one in four pensioners also wanted to see more action on the NHS and social care.

One older respondent told the charity that current price rises were “almost like going back to January 1940 for some of us when rationing was introduced during World War II”.

Another said: “We definitely need the triple lock in place otherwise we will have to choose between food or heating.

“[We have] cut back on everything else so there’s nowhere else to go.”