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Harsh British Winter Could Kill Upto 90,000 Pensioners

With rising gas prices and breakdown of electricity supplies, upto 90,000 senior citizens could die due to severe cold, charity organizations have warned.// As the Meteorological Office has issued its second severe weather warning, parliament debated the rising price of gas - essential to warm homes - while some experts feared a breakdown in electricity supplies during the winter.

Charity organisations caring for the elderly warned that as many as 89,000 pensioners will die in the cold. Concerns for the old and the infirm have been heightened by reports of a shortage of flu vaccine.

Snowfall was reported Thursday in parts of northern Scotland. The rest of Britain was expected to receive snowfall within the next two days, putting a strain on supplies of gas and electricity.

The Highways Agency has cautioned drivers to prepare themselves and their cars. It has announced that gritters will be used on England's motorways and other strategic roads where ice or snow is expected.

Several instances of people stranded in heavy snow have been reported.

Electricity company Scottish Hydro Electric warned of possible widespread damage to the electricity network and has deployed extra engineers into strategic points throughout Scotland, including the Western Isles.

Conservative leader Michael Howard accused the Tony Blair government of 'inefficiency and incompetence' over the shortages of flu vaccine and alleged that the failure to guarantee enough vaccines and energy supplies showed the government was 'on its skids'.

Howard's warning came as analysts revealed that Britain's gas is now the most expensive in the world, trading at twice the price of crude. This is expected to lead to bigger bills for householders.

Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to rule out cuts to domestic gas supplies as he came under fire over rising prices and fears of fuel shortages this winter.

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