Utilities survey finds elderly have to choose between food and heating

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7th January 2016 12:01 - Utilities

According to a recent utilities survey, approximately 750,000 elderly people have to choose between paying for their heating or food.Utilities survey finds elderly have to choose between food and heating

The survey of 1,000 elderly people over 65 revealed that nearly half (43 per cent) have gone to bed to warm up at least once. It’s estimated that 890,000 elderly people have to resort to going to bed to keep warm every day.

Approximately 36 per cent of the respondents said that they are not able to sufficiently heat their home in winter as a result of expensive heating bills. As well as this, 6 per cent (673,000 people) said that they are not able to eat a hot meal every day in the winter months, and 6 per cent only heat one room or none at all (707,000 people).

Some 13 per cent (1 in 7) of the respondents said that they have visited the library, gone to a shopping centre or used public transport so they can keep warm in the winter.

Of the respondents, 66 per cent said that they feel more lonely and isolated during the winter months and do not go out as much as they do in the summer, with 46 per cent saying that they stay indoors because they do not like the cold and 40 per cent saying that they are worried about slipping or falling whilst outside.

Independent Age, who commissioned the survey, said that 1 in 3 pensioner households have less than £300 per week to live on. As well as this, the charity said that 1.6 million elderly people live in poverty, 900,000 of which live in severe poverty.

According to the findings of a separate study by Saga, 60 per cent of those over 50 wear extra clothes to save money or only put their heating on at certain times of the day. As well as this, 10 per cent said that they go to bed earlier to keep their heating bills down and the same percentage only put their heating on as a last resort.

"This Government continues to protect pensioners with its commitment to a minimum annual state pension increase of 2.5%, as well as the maintenance of universal benefits including winter fuel payments and targeted help for the poorest through cold weather payments and the Warm Home Discount Scheme," A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said.

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