Sheffield MP voices concern over unexpected winter deaths

Sheffield MP Harry Harpham has spoken of his concern at statistics revealing an increase in the number of people dying unexpectedly in the winter.

Saturday, 23rd January 2016, 5:00 am
Labour MP Harry Harpham, who represents Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, pictured outside Parliament.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics suggest that the number of people dying prematurely over the 2014-15 winter is two and half times higher than in previous winter.

In Sheffield the number of unexpected deaths over winter months has averaged 190 over the past five years.

In England and Wales the figure has increased from 17,460 to 43,900.

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Unexpected deaths are defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in the winter months of December to March and the average number of deaths over the rest of the year.

The World Health Organisation says that between 30 and 50 per cent of the unexpected deaths are caused by poorly insulated cold homes.

Harry Harpham, who represents Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “These new figures show that government cuts are really hurting some of the most vulnerable people in Sheffield.

“These figures are truly shocking, particularly as this huge rise happened over one of the mildest winters in recent years. I am gravely concerned for the many people living in fuel poverty in our city.

“Regrettably it will be those on low incomes and in poor quality housing who will suffer because of this government’s lack of investment.”

Clive Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, said: “Labour believes that everybody has a right to access the basic level of energy they need to keep their home warm enough to live in. With 2.35 million households now living in fuel poverty, this government clearly doesn’t share our vision.”