Cold snap adds to recession woes in UK

Death toll from Britain’s cold snap has soared by more than 2,500 this year as compared with past years as people struggle to keep their homes warm, according to fresh figures revealed by the British media.

The bitterly cold weather is killing more people in England as millions of pensioners and families lack the financial capability to heat their homes, media reports said.

According to reports, in the week ending March 15, 11,180 deaths were registered – 1,300 more than the average for the past five years – which included 9,500 pensioners. There were 11,245 deaths registered in the previous week, 1,265 more than usual.

The soaring death toll is set to spark fresh anger among the public over rising gas bills as energy companies make bumper profits. The figures also sparked calls for people to check on their elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

“It’s a time when all of us should have heightened awareness about our neighbours’ health and well-being”, said former health secretary Stephen Dorrell.

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, said: “This prolonged cold snap will be taking its toll on many older people, both physically and mentally. It’s crucial that people keep in touch with their older neighbours and relatives to make sure that they are keeping warm and healthy.”

The number of deaths registered in London has risen slightly in the two weeks ending March 15, compared with last year, but is down over the eight-week period.

Economists have warned that the enduring cold snap could push Britain into a triple dip recession.

MOL/JR/HE