78% of low income families
say children's health is hit by cold homes
A huge 78% of low income families in
the North West of England struggled with their energy bills in the last year,
with children's health and wellbeing harmed by strained family finances, finds
the national charity Turn2us.
The new research by the charity shows that 78% of families in the region are
struggling to heat their homes so that no one feels cold. The knock on effect is
severe, with 79% of families saying it is negatively impacting the health of
their children and 52% saying their children's school work has suffered due to
As part of its 'Cut out the Cold' campaign which runs until 14 February,
Turn2us also finds that as a result of these struggles, 61% of families are
cutting back on food while 54% say that the family diet has suffered, further
putting their wellbeing at risk. As a result, 38% of families have experienced
illness due to their cold homes, while 62% are planning to reduce the
temperature of their homes even further despite entering the coldest time of
year. Worryingly, 16% of families are considering taking out a payday loan to
cover the costs they are unable to meet.
Despite families with children now being the largest group of the fuel poor,
representing 45% of households in fuel poverty, 56% do not think that there is
enough support for struggling families. Furthermore, families are not aware of
the help that exists. 60% families have never heard of the Warm Home Discount,
48% have never checked their eligibility for benefits while a massive 86% had
not checked what free charitable grants may exist.
In response to these ongoing challenges, Turn2us' Cut out the Cold Campaign is
highlighting the problems experienced by low income families and what support is
available. From 14 January to 14 February 2015, anyone struggling with rising
costs can use Turn2us' free tools and information to see how they can increase
their household income and manage their energy costs. These include checking
welfare benefits entitlement, searching for grants and schemes to help with
bills, and getting help with managing debt.
Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said:- "More people than ever before
are worried about finding the money to pay for their energy bills. People have
no option but to cut back on essentials and borrow money. It's alarming that for
the first time in a decade, over 1 million families are struggling in fuel
poverty, and at the same time the poorest 20% of households have seen the amount
they spend on energy leap up. With cold homes affecting children's health and
even their attainment at school, they risk being caught in a cycle of poverty as
they grow up. We need to see more done to help raise awareness of the financial
support and help available to manage energy bills. That is why we have launched
our Cut out the Cold campaign, to ensure that struggling families get the help
they need this winter. With household costs continuing to rise, the effects on
family finances could be felt for some time. It is vital that people on low
incomes are not left behind."
Turn2us is working in partnership with other charities and organisations across
the UK for its 'Cut out the Cold' campaign. For more information about
the campaign, please visit:-
£2bn boost for
North West PLCs
THE North West's listed
companies enjoyed a stellar end to 2014, adding almost £2bn to their
collective market capitalisation, according to new research from
The advisory firm's latest:- 'North West Share Index' report reveals
that public companies in the region grew at an average of 7.39% As
a result, their collective market cap swelled to £25bn; a high for
the year; with each company gaining an average of £24m.
The strongest performing company in the North West during the final
quarter was 'Outsourcery', headed by Dragons' Den star Piers Linney.
Following a lucrative deal struck with Microsoft in November 2014,
the business saw its market cap grow by 94.80% in Q4.
Similarly, online home appliances retailer 'AO.com' saw growth of
49.04%, while primary care property business 'Assura', aided by a
£180m share issue, showed strong quarter on quarter growth to
increase its value by 92.46% in Q4.
The region's largest listed companies, those on the FTSE350,
mirrored the strong performance of the North West as a whole, with 6
of the 9 experiencing market cap increases totalling £1.5bn. Of
these, 4 saw a surge of more than 10%, with chemicals producer
'Victrex' increasing its market cap by 29.64%, and water services
provider 'United Utilities' adding over £736m to its value.
Chris Robertson, partner in charge of PLC activity at Deloitte in
the North West, said:- "2014 was a landmark year for the North
West, with a number of investment plans announced for the
medium to long term. This had the impact of drawing some of the Country's largest financial institutions up North, with both Numis
and Secure Trust Bank making the move to Manchester.
It's therefore going to be an exciting year for businesses based in
the North. With this in mind, it is pleasing to see the North West's
listed businesses performing so well, underlining the enormous
potential in the region.
It is also encouraging to see some of the newer listed companies
witnessing market cap growth, with the likes of 4D Pharma, AO.com
and Premaitha Health all experiencing strong increases. This
demonstrates that the public markets remain a viable option to
businesses, and we expect a busy year in the capital markets ahead.
With further investment promised from the government to go towards
creating a Northern Powerhouse, the North's listed companies are now
in prime position to take advantage of favourable conditions."
European Arrest Warrant for the
murder of PC Neil Doyle has been issued
Police are appealing for the public's help to trace a 30 year
old man who is wanted on a European Arrest Warrant for the murder of
PC Neil Doyle. Timmy Donovan, who is also known as Timmy O'Sullivan,
is originally from the Huyton area and has connections with
Childwall in Liverpool. He is understood to have left the UK at
about:- 8.30pm on Friday, 19 December 2015, through the Eurotunnel
and officers believe he was driving a 5 door grey Mercedes A180
(registration YE62 NWG). Donovan is described as 5ft 8in tall, broad
build, with dark brown hair and blue eyes and has a Liverpool
accent. Detectives believe that Donovan is in Europe, possibly
Spain, and are working with the National Crime Agency, Europol and
European police forces in a bid to locate him. Officers are
appealing to Timmy Donovan, or anyone who knows of his whereabouts,
to contact the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Major Crime Unit on:-
0800 230 0600, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.