Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) has suggested that a rise in mortality rates during Q1 2018 is the direct result of too many cold, hard-to-heat homes.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of the NEA, said that the latest Office for National Statistics data on mortalities showed that the winter cold snap caused a spike in premature death.

He commented: "These figures show that the spike in deaths is well above the five-year average for a normal winter. Vulnerable households living in cold, hard-to-heat homes are likely to be a key cause and the harsh truth is that many of these deaths could have been prevented.

“In 2017, NEA warned of the impact of cold homes on people's health. We showed how greater focus and coordination, locally and nationally, could reduce cold-related morbidity and its cost on our health services.

“That warning is just as critical today. The causes, consequences and solutions regarding cold-related ill health are well known. Cold, hard-to-heat homes, will exact a terrible price again this winter and frankly there is no excuse for not being ready for the next cold snap. We must have the action and support in place to help the most vulnerable people survive one of the most predictable causes of serious ill health and preventable death in the UK."