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Claire Perry: Her thumb’s up in this image but it seems she has been “crossing [her] fingers and hoping things will improve”.

The Tory cull of the weak and the old continues unabated with the annual increase in excess winter deaths.

Like the increase in child homelessness, this is a story I have to write every year – because every year, under a Conservative government, the numbers increase.

In 2013, Age UK predicted that 24,000 older people would not survive the winter – 200 deaths per day. By the winter of 2017-18, according to the Office for National Statistics, that figure had leapt to 417 per day.

That’s 17 deaths every hour.

The total number of excess (that’s avoidable) winter deaths was said to be 50,100 – the highest since the winter of 1975-76.

Excess winter deaths in England and Wales. See story HEALTH Deaths. Infographic from PA Graphics

More than a third of the deaths were caused by respiratory diseases, and deaths were higher among females and people aged over 85.

The government – and particularly Energy minister Claire Perry – has been blamed for the increase, which charities say can be attributed to a “laissez-faire” policy that amounted to “crossing [her] fingers and hoping things will improve”.

It certainly seems that Ms Perry thinks she has better things to do than her job. Recent television appearances have shown remarkable displays of misandry (hatred towards men because they are men) and an instance in which she libelled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC’s Question Time.

But she won’t lose her job. If pensioners die, the Conservative government record this as a “positive benefit outcome”.

To add perspective to the facts, in 2014-15 the number of excess deaths had increased from 24,000 to 44,000.

The ONS tried to suggest fears over the effectiveness of that year’s influenza vaccine caused the spike in deaths – but it seems the vaccine in fact proved extremely effective and people who died had been put off having it by government publicity.

Source: Charities demand action after excess winter deaths hit highest level in 40 years | South Wales Argus

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