Thousands of older people in Greater Manchester are living alone with no central heating, data shows
Thousands of older people in Greater Manchester are living on their own with no central heating, a situation a charity says is very concerning.
and live on Freeview channel 276
Thousands of older people across Greater Manchester are living on their own and do not have central heating at home, shocking data shows.
Analysis of figures from the 2021 Census shows there are more than 3,000 residents of the city-region aged 65 or over without central heating in their homes.
Age UK said the figures were “of tremendous concern” and urged the the government to “make sure that it is prepared for next winter”.
Manchester City Council shared some resources that people can access, while the government said fuel poverty was best tackled through increasing the energy efficiency of houses.
What does the data show for Greater Manchester?
The data shows that 3,132 people aged 65 or over were living alone in Greater Manchester without central heating, according to the 2021 Census.
Manchester had the highest number of older residents living on their own with no central heating, with 567 people (2,9% of the age group) in that position. The figures also showed that in Manchester more than one in three over-65s are living alone.
More than 100 older people live on their own and do not have central heating in each of Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs, according to the Census. There were 365 people in that situation in Bolton, 238 in both Bury and Rochdale, 197 in Oldham, 228 in Salford, 393 in Stockport, 364 in Tameside, 248 in Trafford and 294 in Wigan.
Across England and Wales, about 3.1 million elderly people lived alone when the census took place in March 2021. Of them, 66,000 (2.1%) had no central heating.
The highest proportion of older people living alone without central heating was in the North West, in Barrow in Cumbria.
Manchester City Council said there were resources and help for people who are struggling financially in the cost of living hub on its website.
What did Age UK say about the figures?
Caroline Abrahams, director at older people’s charity Age UK, said having limited money in later life impacts day-to-day living and exacerbates feelings of loneliness and disconnection from society.
Ms Abrahams said: “These figures are of tremendous concern, as older people lacking central heating often find it very difficult to stay warm during the winter months with potentially serious consequences for their health and wellbeing.
“Living alone can make this situation worse as it means that one person’s income has to stretch further to cover the fixed costs of heating a home, and it can, in some cases, lead to social isolation, which can have additional negative consequences.”
She called on the Government to ensure it is prepared for next winter. “Expanding central heating access and providing suitable alternatives to keep older people warm will be absolutely key,” she said.
Age UK said anyone who is struggling, or families and friends who are concerned about an older people, can contact its free advice line on 0800 169 65 65 which is open every day from 8am until 7pm.
What has the government and the opposition said?
Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, echoed Age UK’s language as he said the figures were “deeply concerning”.
Mr Miliband said: “No person in Britain should have to live in a cold home, and it is a disgrace that this is happening under Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives.”
He added Labour would launch a national Warm Homes Plan to upgrade home that needs it, so families can have “the warmth they need and cheaper energy bills”.
A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: “We know this is a difficult time for families, including older people, which is why we’ve been covering around half of the typical household’s energy bill.”
They said improving the energy efficiency of homes is the best long-term method of tackling fuel poverty.
“That’s why we’ve committed over £6.6 billion in this parliament to improve energy efficiency and, in addition, last month we announced the new expanded Great British Insulation Scheme to deliver even more upgrades,” they added.