'Heat Your Homes' To Stop Winter Deaths
People are being urged by the Government keep their homes heated and get their flu jabs this winter in a drive to prevent thousands of deaths.
The Cold Weather Plan For England says people should keep their houses warm, with living room temperatures of 21C (70F) and bedrooms and the rest of the house heated to 18C (65F).
The Government's winter advice says temperatures above this "may waste money" but below this "may risk your health".
The plan also says if people are unable to afford to heat all their rooms, they should heat their living room during the day and bedrooms just before going to bed.
The Government's advice - which also mentions loft insulation, keeping curtains closed to trap heat and eating hot food - comes as households face significant increases to their energy bills this winter.
Consumer groups and charities are warning that many will be forced to choose between "heating or eating".
Bosses of Britain's "Big Six" energy firms have been summoned to appear before MPs next week to explain a new round of price rises after SSE, British Gas, npower and ScottishPower all announced increases of more than £100 per household a year.
As public anger over rising energy prices intensified, Mr Cameron surprised MPs this week when he made an apparent U-turn on costly green levies, saying he would roll back some of the measures following mounting claims by providers that they are one of the main factors forcing up prices.
Fuel poverty campaigners, under an alliance called the Energy Bill Revolution, have urged the Prime Minister to invest in "super insulation" for homes to solve the "national crisis" of cold homes.
Energy Bill Revolution campaign director Ed Matthew said: "Our political leaders are falling over themselves to come up with headline-grabbing ways to cut energy bills yet they fall woefully short of a true solution to the energy bill crisis.
"By far the biggest opportunity to cut energy bills is to fully insulate the UK's leaky homes."
The Government's health advice said there are "too many avoidable deaths each winter", with just over 24,000 each year in England and Wales.
The "causes are complex, interlinked with fuel poverty, poor housing and health inequalities, as well as circulating infectious diseases, particularly flu and norovirus, and the extent of snow and ice", it added.
Public health minister Jane Ellison said: "The elderly and those with long-term illnesses are particularly at risk during the winter months so it's crucial that people stay warm and that we all find time to check in on those who may be vulnerable."
She added: "We are also investing £500m over the next two years to help ensure A&E departments are well prepared for winter."