Chris Kamara delivers charity petition to Downing Street for improved financial support

Categories: Care and Policy.

TV presenter and football pundit Chris Kamara MBE handed in a petition to Downing Street calling for improved financial support for people with a terminal illness.

He was joined by two terminally ill campaigners who are experiencing the financial hardships that come with a terminal diagnosis.

The petition, run by the end-of-life charity Marie Curie, has over 166,000 signature and urges the Government to give terminally ill people of working age access to their State Pension.

Marie Curie’s Dying in Poverty campaign has been calling for improved financial support for dying people since research found that 90,000 people die in poverty in the UK each year[1].

People who die in working age are twice as likely to spend their final year of life in poverty compared to people of pension age [2].   

The charity also highlights that people who die in working age have paid their national insurance contributions for an average of 24 years [3].

Marie Curie says giving this group access to their State Pension would substantially reduce the likelihood of a terminal diagnosis driving working age people into poverty. The end-of-life charity is calling for urgent government action ahead of the Spring Budget.

Research from the University of Loughborough, funded by Marie Curie, found that extending the State Pension to this group would cost £114.4 million per year [4] which is just 0.1% of the annual State Pension bill [5]. 

Marie Curie ambassador Chris Kamara MBE said:

 “We never had much money growing up, so I understand the strain that places on a family. Marie Curie cared for my Mum just before she died in 2003.  I can’t imagine having to deal with both of these stressful situations at the same time but that is what everyday life has been like for the people I’ve met through this campaign.

“What terminally ill people are going through at the moment is simply not right. Extending the State Pension to people with a terminal illness would make such a big difference. Those final weeks and months are precious. People should be spending their time making memories, not worrying about money.” 

Mum of two Tammy Prescott, 43, from Halifax, has terminal stomach cancer. She said: 

“My diagnosis is having a devastating impact on our finances as a family. I had to give up a job that I loved, I’ve gone through nineteen rounds of chemotherapy, and now we don’t have the money or time to make special memories together. My husband has to work every hour God sends to be able to keep up with our mounting bills. It’s a nightmare.

“I’ve worked hard my whole life but I won’t live until I’m 65. So why shouldn’t I be allowed to access my State Pension?

“If I could draw my pension, we would have some money leftover at the end of the month to spend on something other than bills. That money would be life changing. We could go on a trip to the seaside. Just little things like that would mean so much to me and my kids.”

Sarah Middlemiss from the end-of-life charity Marie Curie said:

 “The State Pension is the single biggest safeguard against poverty for people as they approach the end of their lives. But if you are unfortunate enough to die before retirement age, it isn’t accessible to you. The Government must extend access to the State Pension to all dying people, regardless of age. 

“Anyone can be given a terminal diagnosis at any time. We regularly hear from terminally ill people who have had to leave the workforce, and often their partners have needed to reduce their hours too.

Despite having significantly reduced income, these people still have to deal with higher-than-average energy bills and often have to pay for added costs like home adaptations or operating specialist medical equipment. That’s why, sadly, many people are pushed into poverty when they’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.

“There is simply not enough financial support available for terminally ill people. That’s why we’re here today, urging the Prime Minister to make good on his pledge to always protect the most vulnerable. We know the public support this. We know it is affordable. The Government could end this injustice in its Spring Budget next month.”  

Launched in May 2022, Marie Curie’s Dying in Poverty Campaign is urging the Government to give terminally ill people access to their State Pension, protection from rising energy bills and support with childcare costs.

According to polling conducted by Marie Curie, three quarters of UK adults support its recommendations [6] and 72% believe that the Government has a responsibility to protect terminally ill people from falling into poverty [7].

To download the Dying in Poverty report, visit:


References for statistics

[1] 90,000 people die in poverty in the UK each year:

[2] Giving this group early access to their State Pension could almost halve their rate of poverty across the UK:

“According to our analysis, adopting this policy would lift around 8,600 people in working age out of poverty in their last year of life each year, and reduce the poverty rate among working age people with a terminal illness from 26% to just 14% – in line with the rate of end of life poverty among pensioners.” (page 5)  

[3] People who die in working age have paid their national insurance contributions for 24 years: policy-interventions-to-alleviate-poverty-at-the-end-of-life.pdf ( 4-5)

[4] The cost of introducing this change – £114.4 million per year: (page 6)

[5] The Government could prevent terminally ill people of working age being driven into poverty by increasing the annual spend on pensions by just 0.1%: (page 6)

[6] Opinium polls find that 75% of UK adults support the recommendations: (page7)

[7] 72% believe the government has a responsibility to protect terminally ill people from falling into poverty: (page 7)

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