NEW figures produced yesterday revealed that 2,900 more people died in the North West during winter months of 2018/19 compared to the rest of the year.

Despite the figures dropping from 6,690 in the previous year's 'Beast from the East' big freeze, charity National Energy Action (NEA) has said the numbers remain an 'annual badge of shame'.

The organisation also published local authority figures which showed that in 2017/18, when excess winter death hit a 30-year high, 250 more people died in Bolton during the winter than would have been expected in the remainder of the year.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that in 2016/17 the number of excess winter deaths in Bolton was 140, in 2015/16 60 and in 2014/15 240.

In 2013/14 the number was 80 and the previous winter it was 180.

NEA Chief Executive Adam Scorer said: “This is an annual badge of shame.

"Cold homes kill thousands of people across the UK each winter through respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases, influenza, and in a small number of cases, hypothermia.

"For the ‘dead of winter’, their homes were death traps. The figures may be down from last year, but that’s the luck of the weather, not Government action”.

The charity claims that up to 30 per cent of the number of Excess Winter Deaths are likely to be attributable to the impact cold homes have on those with respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases.

They also highlight the impact the cold has on increasing trips and falls and in a small number of cases, direct hypothermia.

Mr Scorer said:”It doesn’t have to be this way. There has never been a greater opportunity to tackle cold homes and the seasonal epidemic of ill health and early death.

"All major UK party manifestos have recognised that we have to improve home energy efficiency if we want to end fuel poverty and tackle the climate emergency.

"The next government must build on this consensus to turn warm words into warm homes. Act now and they will save thousands of lives”.

The figures are released to coincide with yesterday's Fuel Poverty Awareness Day.