Excess Winter Deaths and fuel poverty

Every year, the Office for National Statistics calculates the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding August to November and the following April to July.

Estimates suggest that some 10 per cent of these excess winter deaths (EWDs) are directly attributable to fuel poverty and 21.5 per cent are attributable to cold homes (UCL / Institute of Health Equity

The World Health Organisation estimates that it is nearer 30% that are caused by cold homes, but this evidence is now questioned and is older than the UCL/IHE study.

Looking back, there is a very clear correlation between a LOW average winter temp and a HIGH level of EWDs.

In February 2024, the ONS launched a consultation on the methodology associated with this calculation and also set out new figures for excess deaths in a particular period (rather than excess winter mortality levels as set out in the figures above). Even after these new measures are introduced, the old data which is set out above is not technically incorrect, however the metrics used for calculating the figure may be less accurate than the new measures.

Hospital emergency admissions data can also be examined to look at the impact of cold weather spike which we hope researchers will do in the near future.