January 10, 2010
FREEZE MAY KILL 60,000
AS Britain’s winter of discontent threatened a fresh wave of blizzards and freezing temperatures last night, Gordon Brown stood accused of failing to protect the nation.
With up to 60,000 deaths predicted because of the relentless cold and the country’s major roads facing a gritting crisis, Downing Street was heavily criticised for the widespread chaos.
Conservative leader David Cameron slammed the lack of leadership at Number 10 – as the Prime Minister all but ignored the national crisis in a battle for his own political survival.
Mr Cameron said: “At times like these the country needs strong and united leadership. “We can’t go on with a Government that is more focused on its internal problems than trying to help people through difficult times, including some of the worst weather conditions the UK has experienced for years.” The Prime Minister last night admitted that for many people this was a “very serious, worrying and frustrating time”.
But he tried to play down the crisis in a podcast from Downing Street.
The embattled Premier insisted gas supplies were not threatened and that everything was being done to keep the roads clear. But the winter of 2010 threatens to become one of the biggest civil crises in modern times.
Experts predict a massive spike in death rates – with up to 60,000 more people dying than average because of the wintry conditions. The British civilian death toll in the Second World War was 67,000.
The economy also faces losses of up to £15billion as millions of workers are forced to stay indoors because of the impact on the transport system.
The AA warned the country could expect “creeping paralysis” as grit stocks dwindle over the next two weeks. With no end to the snow and freezing temperatures in sight, the country is facing the prospect of its essential services being unable to function. Despite the efforts of tens of thousands of local authority workers, emergency services personnel and others, the superstructure necessary to cope with a prolonged deep freeze has been revealed to be inadequate.