A CHARITY has issued a call to action to help stop people dying from cold homes.

According to fuel poverty charity National Energy Action – there were 5,300 excess deaths in the West Midlands last winter, with 1,590 vulnerable people believed to have died as a direct result of not being able to heat their homes adequately.

The charity says it has released the figures today (Friday) on Fuel Poverty Day to raise awareness about just how many fuel poor households there are across the UK.

Adam Scorer, chief executive of NEA, said: “Everybody has the right to live in a warm and safe home but tragically, many people died needlessly last winter because of cold homes. Living in a cold damp home can also lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as young children, older people, and those with long term sickness and disabilities.

“With fuel bills set to rise again, without urgent local and national action we are worried the same will keep happening each winter. As well as needless deaths and misery, this would continue to place a huge strain on our already stretched health services.”

The charity is urging the Government to provide investment to dramatically improve energy efficiency in the least efficient homes and asking local councils to do all they can to enforce housing standards.

A spokesman confirmed the 5,300 excess winter deaths occurred across the entire West Midlands region, which Bromsgrove falls under, although the 2017-18 figures are provisional only at this stage.

In the Bromsgrove local authority area, according to most recent confirmed Government figures, there were 90 excess winter deaths in 2016-17 and 10 per cent of residents (3,978) in the Bromsgrove parliamentary constituency were estimated to be living in fuel poverty in 2016.

Mr Scorer from the NEA said some people in fuel poor households have resorted to risky coping strategies including using candles instead of electricity and have even been barbequing in the sink.

He said: “We are urging friends, families and neighbours to keep a lookout for any of these dangerous coping strategies. If they know someone who maybe struggling over the winter, information on what support is available can be found on NEA’s website.” Advice for people struggling to heat their homes is available online at www.nea.org.uk