Cold weather caused an added 40,000 deaths in the UK this year.
The cold weather death toll this winter is expected to top 40,000, the highest number for 15 years.
The figures were described as a “tragedy for the elderly” by campaigners who warned that not enough was being done to protect pensioners from unnecessary deaths in cold weather.
Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said: “Excess winter deaths look like rising above the exceptional 2008-09 total and potentially reaching above 40,000 - and that is a disaster for the elderly in Britain.
“Winter deaths are a tragedy for families of those affected but it appears the underlying causes of these deaths have still not been properly addressed.
From the beginning of December until January 16, there were 8,800 more deaths than average of 25,000, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)....