Frozen to death as fuel bills soar: Hypothermia cases among the elderly double in five years
1,876 patients treated for hypothermia in 2010/11
Hypothermia death toll within 30 days up from 135 to 260
Coincides with a surge in energy prices
Industry analyst estimates 8 out of 10 households ration energy use
Age UK says a quarter of all pensioners live in fuel poverty
The number of pensioners dying from hypothermia has nearly doubled in five years, a period when a succession of cold winters has been coupled with drastic rises in energy bills.
The official figures emerged after several days of Arctic conditions which drove temperatures across the whole country as low as minus 10C (14F).
They showed that 1,876 patients were treated in hospital for hypothermia in 2010/11, up from 950 in 2006/07.
The number of sufferers who died within 30 days of admission shot up from 135 to 260.
Three-quarters of victims were pensioners, with cases soaring among the over-60s more than any other age group.
The increasing toll of hypothermia over the past five years coincides with a surge in energy costs, especially gas prices which have gone up by 40 per cent.
Soaring energy bills are pushing more and more pensioners into fuel poverty, forcing them to choose between heating and eating. One industry analyst, uSwitch, estimates that eight in ten households are already rationing their energy use and have called for a cut in VAT on power bills.
The row over energy prices is poised to be reignited later this month when the ‘big six’ energy companies reveal their latest profit figures.
Campaign groups said yesterday it was ‘scandalous’ that pensioners in modern Britain could be suffering from hypothermia.
Michelle Mitchell of Age UK urged the Government to take more action to protect those at risk of freezing to death.
‘We like to think of ourselves as a civilised society which protects the most vulnerable,’ she said. ‘The fact that there are still older people who are suffering and dying of hypothermia is deeply shocking.’
A survey carried out by Age UK last month found that half of pensioners have turned their heating down to save money even when they are not warm enough.
Many more are so cold they go to bed when they are not tired or move into one room to keep energy bills down.
Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops below 35C (95F) from its normal 37C (98.6F). Symptoms can include violent shivering, confusion, delirium and unconsciousness.
The statistics from the NHS Information Centre show that three-quarters of hypothermia cases are among the over-60s, and the increase in admissions has been the highest among this age group.
In 2006/07, there were 633 hypothermia admissions among the over-60s, rising to 1,396 in 2010/11. This is a rise of 120 per cent. There have, however, been increases across all age groups.
Among adults aged 15 to 59, cases have risen by 54 per cent to 276. There were 50 hypothermia cases among children aged 14 and under, a 22 per cent increase.
The figures on deaths are not broken down by age, but show that almost 20 per cent of those admitted die within 30 days. A further 6 per cent die between 30 and 90 days from admission.
Meanwhile, taking inflation into account, the price of gas has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years to 3.4p per kilowatt hour. Electricity prices have risen by 21 per cent to 11.8p per kilowatt hour.
This has led to a surge in the number of pensioners in ‘fuel poverty’, which means the costs of energy bills make up more than 10 per cent of the household budget.
Age UK says that more than three million older people in England – nearly 1.2million of whom live alone – are in fuel poverty. This total is a quarter of all pensioners and has trebled since 2003.
The elderly receive cold weather payments if the temperature falls below a certain level, but campaigners argue that the money is clearly not enough to stave off hypothermia in many cases.
The parent companies of Britain’s big six energy firms are expected to announce total profits of £15billion in the next few weeks, although UK consumers only contribute a small part of these profits as far as at least four of these firms are concerned – RWE nPower, E.ON, Iberdrola (Scottish Power) and EDF (France).
Ofgem, the energy regulator, says the average profit per customer in Britain was £100 last month but could fall in the summer months to £70.
Neil Duncan Jordan of the National Pensioners Convention described the expected profits figure as ‘scandalous’.
He said: ‘It is a graphic example of the failure to protect some of our most vulnerable individuals.’
Last night public health minister Anne Milton said: ‘We have introduced a Cold Weather Plan to reduce the number of deaths. We have also set up a Warm Homes and Healthy People Fund of £30million to pay for local authority projects to reduce effects of cold weather.
‘Winterwatch is also providing professionals and the public with updates and practical advice from the Chief Medical Officer.’
The Department of Health said the main cause of excess winter deaths was not hypothermia but heart and respiratory disease.
Amazing details of exactly what asylum seekers MUST BY LAW be given for free.
Were you aware? No you were not… And you are not allowed to become aware either.
This is the kind of message that we have been hearing from angry locals all over Britain for the last couple of years. Many of the details change, but the total renovations and the highly visible net curtains crop up time and time again.
So too do the denials by local councils that the premises concerned are going to house asylum seekers. And almost as regular is the spectacle of those same councils being forced to eat their words within weeks as local residents wake up to find that new neighbours from Albania and Somalia have been moved in overnight.
The repetition of this pattern over the entire country has been something of a mystery up until now. Strangest of all has been the sight of so many councils telling lies to local residents and newspapers alike, even though the bureaucrats and local councillors telling the lies must know that they will be exposed and discredited within weeks. Just such a sequence of events, for example, played a major role in the by-election victory of our Robin Evans in Blackburn last autumn.
Secret Tenancy Agreement
The answers to this puzzle lies in a secret 26-page document the Revised Tenancy Agreement April 2001 – produced by the Secretary of State for the Home Office, acting through the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. Its very existence is supposed to be secret, Section 3 (p), on page 8 has this warning for people or companies thinking of making money out of housing asylum seekers:
The Landlord’s attention is drawn to the Official Secrets Acts 1911-1989. The landlord shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that all individuals engaged on any work in connection with this Agreement have notice that these statutory provisions apply to them and shall continue to apply after the expiry or termination of the Term.
I don’t know whether there is anything to make a reader who is not planning to be a signatory to the document subject to the provisions of the Official Secrets Act. I don’t know, and I don’t care. This document is so shocking that the truth about it has to be told. All I will say is that this article is published here solely on my authority, so if some Home Office legal bigwigs wants to prosecute over this shockingly democratic breach of their veil of secrecy, they know where to find me.
The anti-free speech restrictions continue on page 9, although by this time the section numbers seem to have become somewhat confused and very unclear. The actual meaning of Section (a) (iii), however, is all too clear:
The Landlord shall ensure that no press release or other public document containing Confidential Information is issued and shall not make any public statement concerning Confidential Information without the prior written approval of the Directorate and the Tenant Company as to its content and the manner and extent of its publication.
This is the answer to one key asylum mystery. This is why local councils and private companies alike, which are providing accommodation for ‘refugees’, continually refuse to comment or lie about their role in housing asylum seekers. Once they’ve signed up to this Agreement, they simply don’t have a choice.
Detailed list of items for asylum seekers
So what doesn’t the Home Office want you to know? Take a look at Schedule 1 on page 14, and you can see for yourself:
This list of requirements for any property being used to house asylum seekers begins, reasonably enough, by insisting that it shall be fit for human habitation, and have adequate light. Let us ignore the fact that many hundreds of thousands of our own people are either homeless or live in houses which are unfit for human habitation because, according to central government and local councils, there isn’t enough money to deal with all the problems.
By the time we get to Section 1.3, the secret Agreement begins to lay out requirements which are beyond the reach not just of a relatively small number of the homeless or desperately poor:
all meters shall be of the quarterly type, the use of card or key meters shall not be allowed.
Isn’t that nice? If you and your family fall into arrears on your utility bills, particularly electricity, you have to agree to the installation of a card meter set at such a rate that it gobbles up money. British families with children can’t be officially cut off but if they run out of meter credit, their lights and heating go off anyway and they have to go to bed at dusk in the winter to try to keep warm. Such hardships are unacceptable, however, when it comes to asylum seekers.
Section 1.7 insists that The Property shall have a full and safe central heating system installed. Paraffin or bottled gas fed heating systems shall not be used. Perish the thought! Such devices are fine for British pensioners and young families shivering on the poverty line, but far too smelly, inconvenient and dangerous for Mr Blunkett’s favourites.
New electrical goods
After laying down requirements on issues such as fire safety, the Schedule reaches Point 10: All electrical appliances in the Property shall be either new or, if second hand, shall be supplied complete with a twelve month guarantee. Well, I don’t know about you, but when my wife and I got married and set up home, we had to get our first electric cooker and heaters from an auction, completely without any guarantee at all. And, of course, ordinary British youngsters moving into places of their own still face the same choice between paying through the nose for new equipment or going without guarantees.
Pages 15 and 16 go on to provide a long list of the things needed in the kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathroom of each asylum property. As you’re probably expecting by now, this features everything from chip pans to teaspoons, from an easy chair for each bed space to a Boots first aid kit.
The long ‘General’ list in Section 1.13 even proves that the popular observation about new net curtains showing that asylum seekers are moving in is true, since landlords are ordered to provide net & drawable curtains to all living rooms and bedrooms. They get everything, in fact, including the kitchen sink.
Free colour TV and licence paid!
One item does, however, stand out:
For Each Living/Dining Room
1 new twenty inch screen colour television complete with licence which shall be renewed at each annual anniversary of the Start Date throughout the Term.
Native Brits, of course, have to wait until they are 75 to get a free TV licence, and non-payment of this iniquitous tax is the biggest single ‘crime’ that puts British women in prison.
Many of those women can’t afford a TV licence because they are struggling to bring up young families on pitifully low incomes. As a result, they are also often unable to afford proper child safety equipment. No wonder, then, that the Home Office bureaucrats being so generous with our tax money wanted to keep Section 1.20 secret:
Where there are to be children living in the Property, the Property shall include:
Adequate cot and highchair facilities
Appropriate sterilisation equipment;
Child safety gates on all stairways;
Childproof resistant devices or casement stays on all windows;
Appropriate play areas both inside and outside the Property.
Another thing that ordinary families on average incomes find a big problem is the occasional cost of major repairs. Asylum seekers have no such worries. Under this Agreement, the Landlord is bound to do all repairs within seven days, and to provide an emergency repair service (Section 1.23) where a threat to health and safety is apparent. The rest of us have to turn to Yellow Pages or pay for call out insurance, but it would be unfair to expect asylum seekers to do the same, wouldn’t it?
Similarly favourable treatment is also specified in the Letting Provisions, Section (f) of which commits the Landlord to redecorate all parts of the Property in the third year of the Term. The rest of us may have to fork out down at “Do It All”, but not Mr Blunkett’s special guests.
Perhaps most ludicrous of all, however, is the next section (g) of the Letting Provisions, whereby the Landlord agrees: To have the exterior of all windows of the Property cleaned once every twelve weeks. I kid you not, it’s there on page 7. What would George Formby have had to say about it?
So what do all these modcons and services cost the lucky occupants of such premises? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. When various bleeding heart liberals tell us how asylum seekers only get basic income support payments, they don’t tell us about the Letting Provisions on page 4 of the Home Office’s Revised Tenancy Agreement, do they? Yet these show that not only do asylum seekers get their TV licences paid for them, we also pick up the tab for their rent, water rates, gas, electricity and council tax bills.
Surely, you must think, these people must want to spend night after night on the phone to all their friends and family back home, telling them all about the wonders of Soft Touch Britain? A lot of their pocket money must go on paying the phone bill? No, as you probably guessed, they don’t have to pay a penny. Section 1 ((b) of the Letting Provisions sets out the fact that the Tenant Company (funded by the taxpayer) agrees to pick up the phone bill for every single property provided by the Landlord in question to asylum seekers.
Don’t forget that every single council or housing association in this land which is housing asylum seekers has signed this document. Thousands of councillors in the ruling party in Labour, Lib Dem and Tory councils alike have either read this document or studiously avoided seeing it so they didn’t have to.
It only took one BNP member in one council to leak this insulting and undemocratic document. By contrast, we will never know how many Lib-Lab-Con merchants have seen this Agreement since it first started being used in 2001, but not a single one of them has had the guts to put the interests of democracy and their constituents before asylum seekers and the Home Office.