Some of Britain’s poorest households are finding it increasingly more difficult to cover the costs of funerals, according to a report by the University of Bath .
The average cost of a funeral, including administration and burial or cremation, has increased by 80% since 2004 and now stands at an eye-watering £7,622.
Poorer households can obtain help from the Funeral Social Fund, but according to the report low-income families and those on benefits face an average shortfall of £1,227, which raises questions about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) funeral payment scheme.
Despite vast improvements in healthcare and people living longer, we all have to meet our maker one day, but for some of Britain’s poorest households dying is swiftly becoming an inevitable end of life event which could leave their loved ones with a very hefty bill.
Dr Kate Woodthorpe from Bath University’s Centre for Death and Society, told the Daily Mirror:
“As a result people are living longer, which requires larger incomes and pension pots to ensure these extra years can be afforded.
“At the same time, the younger generations have less ready cash to call on, so they cannot necessarily be relied on to pick up the bill either.
“We know that the long-term decline in death rates is about to reverse, with a projected rise in the number of deaths around 15 to 20% in the next two decades.
“We also know that right now, with some of the lowest death rates ever recorded, the safety nets provided by the state via the Social Fund Funeral Payment and local authority public health funerals are under pressure.
“Their sustainability into the future is debatable.”
A spokesperson for the DWP also told the Daily Mirror: “The Funeral Payment scheme continues to cover the necessary costs of burial or cremation in full, because we know that these costs may vary widely across the country.
“A significant contribution is also made towards the fee levied by funeral directors which is currently set at £700.”
Source – Welfare News Service, 21 Jan 2014