Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:22AM
The death toll from the UK's relentless big freeze could reach as high as 30,000 as the country is experiencing its coldest March for 50 years. The wintry conditions blasting the country, sparked fears of the highest winter death rate for five years. Pensioner groups warned earlier that the death rate among older people, who are more vulnerable to cold weather, has already increased this winter with fears it could hit 30,000, 6,000 more than last year. On Saturday, the frozen body of a man was found in Brierfield, near Burnley, Lancashire. It is thought he had been caught up in the cold weather on his way back home. The winter storms also claimed a woman’s life in Looe, Cornwall when her house collapsed in a landslide, with torrential rain smashing through a block of flats and partially collapsing the building. Shivering Brits could now face even higher fuel bills as the lower-than-usual temperature force millions to turn up their heating. The shortfall of the country’s gas storage could also force the long-term price of gas higher, hitting British taxpayers harder than ever. MOS/HE