Hundreds of Aberdeenshire residents 'die in poverty' each year

Hundreds of people die in poverty in Aberdeenshire every year, according to estimates published for the first time.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:38 am
A total of 289 people in Aberdeenshire died in 2019 having experienced poverty in the last year of their life.
A total of 289 people in Aberdeenshire died in 2019 having experienced poverty in the last year of their life.

End-of-life charity Marie Curie said it was "shocking" that more than 90,000 people across the UK pass away while living in poverty annually and called for urgent action from the UK Government.

And the findings could be an underestimate as research by Loughborough University on behalf of the charity analysed data from before both the coronavirus pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

The estimates suggest that 289 people in Aberdeenshire died in 2019 having experienced poverty in the last year of their life – around 11% of the total number of deaths in the area.

They were among 8,547 annual deaths in poverty across Scotland.

More than 15% of the nearly 605,000 people who died in the UK in 2019 are estimated to have experienced poverty in the last year before their death.

Researchers modelled estimates using a combination of data from a survey which closely followed the lives of thousands of people from 2009 to 2019, and local figures on deprivation.

For most of the findings, the Social Metrics Commission's definition of poverty was used which examines how much someone’s resources, after housing costs, meets their needs – including "inescapable costs" such as childcare and disability.

Of the 289 deaths in poverty in Aberdeenshire in 2019, 202 are estimated to be pensioners (10% of the group), and 88 working age (21%).

Marie Curie is calling for urgent action to give terminally ill people of working age access to their State Pension.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the charity, said: "No one wants to imagine spending the last months of their life shivering in a cold home, struggling to feed themselves, their children, and burdened with the anxiety of falling into debt. But for 90,000 people a year that is their reality. We are staggered to see the scale of poverty among dying people – it is shocking."

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The Government is taking decisive action to ease pressures on the cost of living, including spending £22 billion across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and cut fuel duty.”