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18 Feb 2019

Excess winter death rate at highest since 1976

We explore the schemes to help you manage heating costs - and other ways to stay warm - in light of new statistics

Almost 17,000 people in the UK died due to cold housing during the winter of 2017/18, according to new statistics from think tank E3G and fuel-poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA).

The total number of excess winter deaths in 2017/18 was around 56,300, of which 16,890 have been attributed to cold housing conditions.

E3G (climate-change think tank) and National Energy Action (UK fuel-poverty charity) revealed these statistics on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day (15 February), which aims to raise awareness of support for those in fuel poverty.

The two organisations have also confirmed that the excess winter death rate in 2017/18 was the highest since 1976.

Keeping warm in cold weather- advice on staying warm and comfortable during cold weather, brought to you by Which? Later Life Care.

Schemes to help with heating costs

There are a few grants or schemes designed to help people meet the cost of keeping their home warm. For example:

  • Winter Fuel Payment: A government grant of £100-£300, available to older people to help with heating bills.
  • Warm Home Discount: This is targeted at pensioners and people who receive certain benefits, and amounts to £140 a year.
  • Fuel Direct: This can help you to manage your energy bills if you get income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, or universal credit.
  • Cold Weather Payment: If you're eligible, this is worth £25 a week for each week it's below zero degrees.

Find out whether you could be eligible for the above - and information on other offers that can help you to cut energy costs - by heading to government energy grants for your home.

Switch energy provider for cheaper bills

At the moment, you could save around £163 a year by switching from a tariff at the level of the price cap to the cheapest deal on the market.

There will be even bigger savings to be made from April. Earlier this month, a £117 increase to the energy price cap was announced, effective as of 1 April 2019.

This increase means that energy companies could raise the prices of their standard of default tariffs, which would affect 11 million people.

Find the best energy deal for you by using our independent Which? Switch service.

How to stay warm

As we get older, changes in our bodies can make us feel more sensitive to colder temperatures.

It's important to keep your body temperature at around 37°C, because letting it drop below 35°C can lead to serious conditions such as hypothermia.

Top tips to avoid becoming cold- advice on how to maintain your body temperature.