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1.9.08

Fuel Poverty Linked to Winter Deaths

A release from the Celtic League below which illustrates nicely the social side to their work. It is an issue all the more serious in Cornwall which, as is well known, compares to parts of Eastern Europe for relative poverty levels.

Now as the global economy starts to look a little shaky on its legs will we see Cornwall and the English regions left high and dry as capital retracts to London?

Devolution for Cornwall NOW!

CELTIC LEAGUE - PRESS INFORMATION

FUEL POVERTY LINKED TO EXCESS WINTER DEATHS SAY WHO

A 2007 report (See link A) from the World Health Organisation (WHO)which found that fuel poverty is linked to increased winter deaths amongst vulnerable groups is sure to reinforce concerns voiced by NGOs in several areas of the British Isles over increased fuel costs. Various charitable groups including The Society of St Vincent de Paul and Institute of Public Health (Ireland), Age Concern (Isle of Man) and a range of Elderly and Low income groups in the UK have already given ominous warnings of the pressures the coming months will bring for low income groups.

The WHO report was compiled before the latest dramatic increases in the costs of gas, electricity and heating oil which gives its conclusions even greater relevance. More recently a further global report on social inequality by the WHO (See link B) said "It is shocking that in an economically rich country such as the Republic of Ireland, a remarkable 17% of households are fuel poor". Given the economic comparator often drawn between Ireland and the Isle of Man this observation must have crucial relevance for the Manx government also.

The 2007 WHO report (A) looked at ten European countries ranging from economically underdeveloped states such as Lithuania and Slovenia to Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The reports conclusions were startling. In relation to Ireland it said that whilst "the rate of fuel poverty has fallen from 31.9% in 1995 to 19.7% in 2000. Nevertheless. ...excess winter deaths in Ireland are still among the highest in the EU."

There were similar concerns voiced about the UK with the report (A) saying that "there were still over 2 million fuel-poor households in the UK in 2003, with additional 1.5 million ‘vulnerable’ households." It also said that "excess winter deaths continue to be higher in the UK than the EU average."

Whilst the report (A) points out the numbers of people in the fuel poverty bracket in both states had declined during the period of the survey it is now generally accepted that throughout the British Isles because of the savage increases in fuel costs imposed by utilities that more people will be in fuel poverty by this winter than at any time since statistics started to be compiled.

A fuel poor household is defined as one that needs to spend more than 10% of its income to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth (21°C in the living room and 18°C in the other occupied rooms, as recommended by the WHO). Both the UK and Ireland adopt this standard and it is clear that many families in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Isle of Man will have to spend considerably more than the 10% benchmark to meet expected energy charges this winter.

Finally, report (B) also illustrates that governments action can significantly impact on poverty and deprivation recording that "in Nordic countries fiscal policy leads to a much lower prevalence of poverty than in the United Kingdom". This section concludes that "Policy matters".

LINK A:
WHO 10 COUNTRY REPORT

LINK B:
WHO GLOBAL REPORT

Links here to earlier Celtic League articles on poverty and low incomes
in Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2744
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2662
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2480
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2470
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2043
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1639
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1503
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1146
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/460


J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

30/08/08

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, but Asturies and Galicia? Are they celts?