The number of people dying in extreme poverty throughout Carmarthenshire has seen a dramatic increase over the past year.

And analysts fear the figure is set to rise even further. as living costs continue to soar. 

Estimates suggest that during 2019, almost a fifth of deaths in Carmarthenshire involved people who ended their lives whilst living in poverty. This represents a total of 411 people. Of that figure, 325 were pensioners while 86 were of working age.

However researchers at Loughborough University, who compiled the data for the end-of-life charity Marie Curie, fear these figures could represent an underestimate.

“This is nothing short of a national indignity,” commented Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie. “But our fear is that this figure will only grow substantially during the coming years.”

The recent hike in energy costs is proving a major catalyst for people, with many people being forced to decide on whether to spend money on heating their homes or buying food. And the hardest hit are the elderly and vulnerable people who are suffering from acute or terminal illnesses.

“Sadly, the social security net is failing to protect people with terminal illnesses," explained Matthew Reed.  "As a result, the state pension should no longer be denied to people of working age who are terminally ill, for the simple reason that their lives will be cut short before they reach pension age.”

The recent figures were compiled through a combination of data that was obtained from a survey which followed closely the lives of thousands of people between 2009 and 2019.

“The physical and financial challenges people with terminal illnesses are having to confront are going to get even tougher,” commented a spokesperson for Loughborough University’s research team.

"The number of people dying in poverty has almost certainly risen further since our research was carried out and it will only get higher in the coming months as the cost of living crisis deepens.”

Now Marie Curie is calling on the government to do all it can to prevent further increases in poverty-driven deaths.

"No one wants to spend the last months of their life shivering in a cold home, struggling to feed themselves and their children, and burdened with the anxiety of falling into debt,” concluded Matthew Reed. “I urge the devolved and local governments, politicians and policy makers to make this an urgent priority.”