AS temperature plummets Age UK has launched its Spread the Warmth campaign to reduce the shocking number of unnescessary deaths each winter.

The charity has revealed how 27,000 people die prematurely each winter in England and Wales, the vast majority of them older people, because of respiratory problems, strokes and heart-attacks brought on by cold temperatures. This is fifteen times the number of people lost in road accidents.

New analysis by Age UK has found that cold homes alone are costing the NHS in England £1.36 billion a year in hospital and primary care because of their impact on older people’s health.

Statistics reveal people living in the coldest homes are three times as likely to die from a cold-related illness compared to those in warmer homes.

Backing the Age UK project Atherton MP Julie Hilling said: “I am pleased to give my backing to Age UK and to support them in highlighting awareness of such an important campaign. I recently attended the AGM for Bolton’s Age UK and it was great to hear first-hand the good work that they do across our community."

She advised people to contact their energy supplier for tariff advice.

Age UK Charity Director General, Michelle Mitchell, said “We are delighted that Julie Hilling is this year's campaign this year. It is nothing short of a scandal that tens of thousands of older people are still dying every year simply because they cannot keep warm. We must all work together to ensure that older people are insulated against the perils of the cold.”

Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65, where they can also order a free copy of ‘Winter wrapped up’ with a free thermometer. Alternatively they can visit to download the guide, get more information about the Spread the Warmth campaign and find out where their local Age UK office or shop is.