As a young man I always looked forward to the winter. I loved hill walking in Scottish Highlands in winter, the grandeur, beauty, all breathtaking. Too young to worry about fuel poverty then, but now as a pensioner I look at the winters with a bit of foreboding. I know that I will struggle to keep the house warm as the temperature falls. I will devise strategies such as heading out on the free bus pass and having a read in a library for a few hours and then perhaps stretch to a coffee in some coffee shop that has the daily papers, another hour or more there, and then head home. Sometimes I'll dress up in the house rather than down, that extra pullover, and then as a last resort, turn the heating on. This is not unusual in our society, recent figures from a Yougov poll states that by April 2011 in the UK, there were 6.3 million households in fuel poverty, that's an unbelievable 24% of all UK households. While Confused.com found that 82% of the UK population expressed concern over fuel bills.
Recent figures suggest that in England and Wales alone, 180 pensioners a day die from the result of fuel poverty, 84% of winter “excess” deaths are of people over the age of 64. This is modern 21st century Britain, oil and gas off the shore of Scotland, one of the biggest economies in the world and one of the richest countries in the world. These figures of premature death among our elderly is just the tip of the iceberg. It in no way takes into account the illness and misery inflicted on ordinary people, simply because the system insists that the energy companies must make a huge profit to pour into the bank accounts of its shareholders and its CEO. It is death money and that's OK in capitalism. A system of profit first, human welfare away down the list.