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

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.

The estimates suggest that 218 people in East Ayrshire died in 2019, which is the most up-to-date information, having experienced poverty in the last year of their life. This is around 15 per cent of the total number of deaths in the area.

They were among 8,547 annual deaths in poverty across Scotland, and almost 93,000 throughout the whole of the UK.

Of the 218 deaths in poverty in East Ayrshire in 2019, 145 are estimated to be pensioners (12 per cent of the total), and 73 are of working age (26 per cent).

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.”