§ Mrs. Gilroy
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects of fuel poverty and cold-related illnesses on(a) overall NHS spending, (b) winter admission rates, (c) public health and (d) death rates. 
§ Yvette Cooper
[holding answer 22 November 1999]: Fuel poverty and cold homes can exacerbate a number of illnesses such as asthma in children and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in older people. However, poor health can be influenced by a large number of causes other than cold housing. Poverty, unemployment and unhealthy life styles are examples of interacting factors that can have at least as great an effect. Therefore, while we clearly recognise that fuel poverty and cold homes undoubtedly contribute to ill health, it is not possible accurately to assess the direct impact on winter admissions, public health, death rates or the level of National Health Service expenditure incurred.