A renewed call has gone out to tackle the cost-of-living crisis after a shocking study found that nearly one in four people in Bolton die in poverty.

The study, published this week by charity Marie Curie, found that around 600 people who died in Bolton experienced poverty in the last year of their lives.

The sample was taken in 2019 and with soaring energy bills soaring, campaigners warn this will only get worse if urgent action is not taken.

Bolton Cllr Martin Donaghy, who has challenged the government to cut VAT on energy bills, said: “If you were going to do this blanket increase in energy prices without any kind of sliding scale then ultimately everybody’s going to get clobbered not just the people at the bottom.”

Cllr Donaghy’s motion, carried by Bolton Council in April, demands that the government remove VAT removed on energy bills for all customers who use up to 3KW a year, around the average for a household.

Responding to the figures, he believes this would go some way to halting the alarming slide into poverty so many people have endured.

Cllr Donaghy said: “I believe this is the first step to addressing the problem but its certainly not a panacea.

“We’re also calling on the government to take a serious look at the energy market, possibly leading to a Royal Commission on energy policy.”

The study found that of the 600 deaths in poverty in Bolton, 455 are estimated to be pensioners and 145 are of working age.

In all, 93,000 died in poverty throughout the whole of the UK.

Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed 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.

He added: "We are staggered to see the scale of poverty among dying people, it is shocking."

In response, the government says it is providing £22bn across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and cut fuel duty along with a £1bn Household Support Fund for vulnerable families.