Health and social care bosses have pledged action after the number of people dying from cold in the district reached a 12-year high.

There were 320 excess winter deaths in the 2011/12 winter – an increase of a third on the year before and a higher rate than the regional and national average.

The number of deaths has now risen for four years running, and there are fears the death rate in the particularly harsh 2012/13 winter was high, too, although these figures are not yet available.

Public health officials have now set out what they are doing this winter to tackle the problem. Causes of deaths include flu, bad housing conditions and fuel poverty.

Bradford Council’s government-funded b-warm initiative, which began in November, provides free or subsidised insulation and new boilers. It aims to eventually offer improvements to all households in the district, but is starting with those in deprived areas and the most vulnerable.

This winter, £30,000 is being spent on supplies for the district's foodbanks, £20,000 on help for the homeless and £30,000 on clothing, bedding and flasks.

In total, the cost of this winter’s drive – called Warm Homes, Healthy People – is £360,000. The Council has also commissioned fuel poverty charity National Energy Action to draft an action plan, which will be published later this year.

Councillor Amir Hussain, executive member for adult services and health at Bradford Council, said: “We must all remember these statistics represent people’s lives and the impact their health has on their families. We have a responsibility to ensure we are doing everything we can.”