Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, called for an extension and expansion of the Winter Fuel Payment, Cold Weather Payment and Warm Home Discount.
He said urgent action is needed to help the poor, elderly and vulnerable this winter, after Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed to act in his Budget in October. “It is not too late for the Treasury to step in and take action,” Mr Francis said.
Morgan Vine, head of policy and influencing at charity Independent Age, said older people are struggling with the soaring cost of living. “Some are choosing to live in just one room of their house to reduce heating costs.”
Lack of adequate financial support for older people will only make these worries worse, she said.
Living in a cold home can worsen underlying cardiovascular and respiratory problems, at an estimated cost to the NHS of £1.36 billion a year, she said.
“Cold homes also weaken people’s immune systems, which is increasingly worrying as Covid continues to be a threat.”