Chilling poll results reveal that one in 10 British people have voted for elderly people to receive a "reward" if they opt for assisted suicide.

While an estimated 54 per cent of people voted in favour of assisted dying, 58 per cent said it seems impossible that a safe system can be put in place that wouldn't be abused by relatives or other family members to conveniently end an ageing person's life.

The respondents were also asked if elderly people should be rewarded for choosing to end their lives.

An estimated 10 per cent of people were in favour of rewards, with 26 per cent being indifferent to the idea.

Overall, men were more than twice more likely to opt for rewarding assisted suicide than women.

The polls were commissioned by the anti-assisted suicide alliance, Care Not Killing, along with the disability campaign group 'Not Dead Yet'.

Dr Peter Saunders, the campaign director of Care Not Killing, said:

"The most chilling findings of this poll, were the one in 10 who said the elderly should be encouraged to end their lives so they did not become a burden. This highlights the frightening undercurrent of deep prejudice that some people harbour towards the older members of our community.

"If there was any doubt about why it is absolutely vital the current legal protections that prohibit assisted suicide and euthanasia are maintained, then this one fact should be proof enough."

The news comes as Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill returns to Parliament for scrutiny on Friday.

The bill, if passed, will allow terminally ill patients, who have been given no more than six months to live and a "settled intention" to end their lives, to be given a lethal dose of drugs to end their lives, provided two doctors agree.