Excess Winter Deaths and fuel poverty

Estimates suggest that some 10 per cent of 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 study.

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

Winter 2020/21 and Winter 2017/18 had an average winter temp of below 5 degrees C and high levels of EWDs (over 10k caused by cold homes). In the years where EWDs caused by cold homes fell below 10k, the average winter temp was above 5 degrees C.

Figures in the chart below are sourced from official records. Data for 2022/23 is provisional and excludes Northern Ireland.

Based on analysis by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition of Office for Health Improvement and Disparities data for December 2022, the levels of excess winter deaths caused by cold homes exceeded those of December 2021 and were similar in level to the Covid-pandemic-affected data of December 2020. In the East of England and the North West, the levels of excess winter deaths in December 2022 actually exceeded the levels recorded during the Covid pandemic in December 2020.

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.