Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP backs national campaign for warm homes

3.40.04pm GMT Thu 24th Nov 2005

Stephen Williams MP is backing a national campaign that aims to highlight the plight of households who are unable to afford to heat their homes to adequate levels this winter.

The Warm Homes Campaign is the annual winter campaign organised by energy efficiency charity National Energy Action (NEA). The campaign aims to cut the number of excess winter deaths and reduce cold-related illnesses by raising awareness of the help available to people who cannot afford to heat their homes in winter.

MPs, Members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly Members around the country are supporting this year's campaign, which is organised in association with Powergen, part of E.ON UK.

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West, said: "The inability to afford adequate heating has serious consequences for individual households and society as a whole. We need to tackle low incomes and the poor energy efficiency standards in our housing so that no one has to worry about the cost of heating their home. I believe that in this day and age, no one should have to spend the winter in a cold, damp home simply because they can't afford to put the heating on, that is why I am supporting the Warm Homes Campaign and an end to fuel poverty for all my constituents."

Almost 10 per cent of households in Bristol West are unable to afford to heat their homes properly. Cold homes affect people's health and wellbeing and are linked to cardiovascular illnesses such as heart disease and strokes, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis. The elderly, families with young children, people with disabilities and others on low incomes are especially at risk from the dangers of cold homes.

There are an average 70 excess winter deaths linked to cold homes every year in Bristol West. This year, higher fuel prices and the coldest winter for eight years could push the figure much higher.

William Gillis, NEA Chief Executive, said: "For millions winter brings poor health, isolation, debt and worry. We believe that this is unacceptable. The Government needs to provide greater resources to tackle fuel poverty and protect vulnerable householders from rapidly rising energy prices."

The key message, campaigners urge, is don't become a statistic this winter. There is help available. Anyone who is worried about their winter fuel bill should call the Keep Warm Keep Well helpline on for information and advice on keeping warm in winter, how to claim benefits, and to find out about energy efficiency grants.

Garry Worthington, Social Affairs Manager at E.ON UK, said: "Powergen is one of the UK's leading energy suppliers, and, as such, we're committed to helping people keep warm and well. That's why we're delighted to be supporting the Warm Homes Campaign as part of our overall strategy to help improve the awareness and take-up of the many measures available to those who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, thereby contributing to their overall well being."

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Previous news story: Stephen Williams MP backs Bristol City Council's anti-bullying campaign (Wed 23rd Nov 2005).
Next news story: Stephen Williams MP presents EDF energy award to St Werburghs Park Nursery School (Mon 28th Nov 2005).

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