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Home Insulation

Volume 589: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2014

Q15. What steps the Government are taking to protect older people from ill health caused by cold and badly insulated homes. (906697)

The Government are using a range of measures, including cold weather payments, the warm home discount, and an increase in pensions. We will improve the warmth of 1 million homes by March 2015. That provides real help to older people by taking money off their bills and insulating their homes to ensure that they are able to keep warm this winter.

That is an interesting response, but my constituent William Sullivan has written to me to say how appalled he is that last year more than 18,000 people in England and Wales died simply because of the cold. What guarantee can the Prime Minister give me that no more of my constituents will suffer in the cold this winter for want of a properly insulated home?

Every excess winter death is a tragedy, and 18,200 deaths last year was too many. However, that is half the level of excess winter deaths in 2008-09, when the Leader of the Opposition was the Energy Secretary. We will continue with the long-term patient work of the warm home discount, keeping the winter fuel and cold weather payments, and schemes to insulate people’s homes. That is the right way forward.