Winter deaths concern

Cold: Campaign to tackle excess winter deaths launched after 850 preventable deaths in the county

Cold: Campaign to tackle excess winter deaths launched after 850 preventable deaths in the county

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There were 850 preventable winter deaths in Lancashire in 2012/13, new figures reveal.

And huge energy bills that mean many elderly people struggle to heat their homes are being blamed, it was claimed today.

Provisional figures for last winter also show that 2,800 people died in the North West.

Many of these could be prevented and are known as “excess winter deaths”

OFTEC, the trade body for oil heating has teamed up with Age UK to provide advice to help the elderly across Lancashire to better prepare for winter.

It comes as Lancashire County Council is providing half a million pounds to help warm up the county’s coldest homes this winter.

The £500,000 called the Affordable Warmth Fund, will help people stay well over the winter by providing measures such as boiler servicing and repair, alongside fuel debt advice and extra heaters.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We’ve provided almost £1m this winter and last to keep people warm who need it most.

“There is a significant increase in winter deaths each year between December and March compared with other times of year, so we must do all we can to keep people healthy.

“We’ve given this funding to each of our city or borough councils to provide measures that will help prevent people becoming ill and have the potential to save lives.

“If you’re struggling to heat your home and have an underlying health condition, are elderly, or have young children, contact your district council for support.”