Left out in the cold – the hidden health costs of cold homes

The report from Sir Michael Marmot’s Institute of Health Equity highlights the significant health impacts of living in cold homes in Britain. Some key points from the report include:

  1. Number of Affected Households: Approximately 6 million households in the UK are living in poorly insulated homes with incomes below the minimum required for an acceptable standard of living. This indicates a widespread issue affecting a significant portion of the population.
  2. Health Risks: Cold homes pose serious health risks, particularly in relation to mental health. Adults living in such conditions are twice as likely to develop new mental health conditions, while one in four children are at risk of experiencing multiple mental health symptoms. These statistics underscore the urgent need for action to address the issue.
  3. Policy Response: The report draws attention to recent developments in policy, noting that the Labour Party revised down its spending commitment to tackle the crisis. This suggests a potential gap between political commitments and the scale of investment needed to address the problem effectively.
  4. Cost Savings Potential: Investing £6 billion annually in a national insulation program is identified as a crucial step in addressing the issue. Such an investment could yield significant cost savings, estimated in the tens of billions of pounds per year, by reducing the burden on the NHS and boosting productivity. This underscores the economic rationale for addressing the problem proactively.

Overall, the report emphasizes the urgent need for action to insulate the nation’s cold homes, alongside efforts to reduce hardship and address high fuel costs. Failure to address these issues not only poses significant health risks to individuals and families but also carries substantial economic consequences for society as a whole.

For the report, click here. For a press release from Friends of the Earth concerning the report, click here.

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