Fuel cost alarm keeping worried pensioners huddled in their beds

Spiralling fuel bills are forcing one in 10 pensioners to stay in bed for longer to keep themselves warm, the results of a new poll find.

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They are so scared of racking up huge bills they cannot afford to pay that even when they do get out of bed.

Sixty four per cent said they wear extra layers of clothing to save on fuel costs.

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A third said they plan not to heat some parts of their home at all during the cold weather.

The Big Six energy firms have all recently announced above-inflation price hikes and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Public Health, Luciana Berger, accused the Government of failing to stand up to them to protect the most vulnerable.

Paul Green, director of communications at over-50s company Saga, which polled more than 12,000 people aged over 50 on behalf of the Press Association, said rising fuel costs were striking fear in the hearts of some pensioners.

“Energy is essential so the Government needs to do more to cut back on consumer green levies, put pressure on energy companies for fairer pricing and to develop new fuel sources linked to lowering consumer bills,” he said.

Jane Vass, head of public policy at charity Age UK, said those living in the coldest homes were three times more likely to die a preventable death. She said the only sustainable solution was investment to increase the energy efficiency of housing stock.

The Government argued that help was at hand in the form of its Warm Home Discount scheme which will help two million households this year.

The news was revealed 24 hours after David Cameron pledged to continue guaranteed rises in the basic state pension by retaining the “triple lock” system if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election. Pension payouts would continue to rise in line with whichever is the higher – inflation, wages or 2.5 per cent – until 2020.