Pensioners protest
Demonstrators hold food trays made into placards as they chat before a march to the headquarters of energy company Npower.Reuters

One in 10 pensioners is being forced to stay in bed longer to keep warm as a result of rising fuel bills, according to a new study.

The poll, which was commissioned by over 50s company Saga and conducted by the Press Association, also found that one in eight respondents said they planned to stop using some parts of their homes in the cold weather to keep energy bills down.

The survey, which questioned more than 12,000 people over the age of 50, also found a third of people said they had been forced to stop heating as many rooms in their homes and more than half (64%) of respondents said they were having to wear extra layers of clothing as a result of rising energy costs.

"As we head into the cold winter months, spiralling fuel costs are striking fear in the hearts of some, but not all, pensioner households." said Paul Green, director of communications at Saga.

"For some, the fear could mean they won't turn their heating on, and in so doing, risk their own health and welfare.

The rising cost of energy prices have dominated the news agenda over recent months, with interventions from Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and the former Prime Minister John Major.

Jane Vass, head of public policy at charity Age UK, added: "High energy prices along with poorly insulated homes are some of the factors that cause cold homes - a major cause of excess winter deaths.

"Those living in the coldest homes are three times more likely to die a preventable death than those living in warmer ones.

"Long term we strongly believe that the only sustainable solution is investment to increase the energy efficiency of our housing stock so cold homes become a thing of the past."