Barnsley MP calls for Prime Minister to tackle winter deaths

Barnsley Central MP and ex-Paratrooper Dan Jarvis
Barnsley Central MP and ex-Paratrooper Dan Jarvis
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Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to tackle winter deaths.

Labour’s Dan Jarvis said a ‘staggering’ 117,000 people had died unnecessarily as a result of the cold over the last four years and asked the Prime Minister he was going to do to stop it happening.

The MP for Barnsley Central said: “Over the past four years excess winter deaths figures from the Official for National Statistics have shown a staggering 117,000 people have died unnecessarily as a result of the cold. 43,000 people tragically died last winter.

“I wonder if the Prime Minister agrees with me, that not only is that appalling but it is also avoidable. So can I ask the Prime Minister to say why it is he thinks so many people are dying needlessly in our country and what he’s going to do to stop it happening.”

Mr Cameron said figures published every year on winter deaths are a ‘standing rebuke to all governments’ about what more needs to be done.

He reeled off a list of measures aimed at helping the vulnerable, including maintaining cold weather payments and winter fuel payments as he was quizzed on the issue by the Barnsley MP.

“I think he is absolutely right to raise this and the winter deaths, the figures are published every year, they are a standing rebuke to all governments about what more needs to be done,” he said.

Mr Cameron also spoke about the pension going up by prices, earnings or 2.5 per cent, and declining energy prices because of the falling oil price.

He added: “I agree that they are not falling as fast as I would like and that’s why I think it’s right that we have this Competition Commission inquiry into the energy industry to make sure it’s a fully competitive industry, but it’s come a long way in the last few years.

“When I became Prime Minister the independent energy companies were just one per cent of the market, they are now 15 per cent of the market, the big six are being broken down through competition, so all of those changes plus home improvements and making sure that people have good insulation, all those things can make a difference.”