Soaring funeral costs have left thousands of low-income families in the dire situation of being ‘too poor to die’, according to research.
Research by SunLife Direct reveals that ‘funeral poverty’ rocketed by a shocking 125% in the first four years since 2010, with the average cost of dying up 10.6% to £8,427 from 2013-14 – seven times the rate of inflation. This includes death related costs such as probate, headstones and flowers and the basic cost of a funeral.
Actual funeral costs – which account for less than half of the total cost of dying – have also risen by 3.9% since 2013 and a staggering 87% since 2004. The cost of a funeral now stands at an average £3,590.
SunLife warns that the situation will only continue to deteriorate over the coming years. Their research suggests that funeral costs will continue to rise, reaching an estimated average of £4,489 by 2019.
A 39% rise in estate administration costs has contributed heavily to the total cost of dying. Hiring a professional, which may include a solicitor and other experts, to manage the affairs of a deceased relative now accounts for more than a third of the total cost.
Funerals are becoming so expensive people are burying their dead in the back garden says South Shields’ MP.
Labour’s Emma Lewell-Buck claims people are holding “do it yourself” funerals with rising costs putting even a basic service out of many families’ reach.
She made the announcement at the House of Commons this afternoon as she proposed a bill calling for a review of funeral costs and for providers to offer an affordable, simple service.
Mrs Lewell-Buck told MPs:
“People are also turning to alternatives to the traditional funeral. Some are holding do-it-yourself funerals, and even having to bury relatives in their back garden. A number of companies are offering cut-price funerals, including “direct” cremations that have no formal service attached to them.
“Increasingly, bereaved individuals who simply cannot afford a formal service are faced with having to opt for a public health funeral, or what used to be referred to as a pauper’s funeral.”
Research published by Royal London shows that one in five households struggle to afford the cost of a basic funeral. In order to make up the shortfall many take on credit card debt, sell possessions or even turn to payday lenders. The report also shows that funeral costs are rising, with the average service now costing £3,551.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said:
“Funeral poverty is on the rise in Britain, as costs go up while household budgets continue to be stretched. The last thing a bereaved person needs is money worries, but increasingly people are getting in to debt to afford a decent send-off for those they care about.
“People understandably don’t like to talk about these issues, and struggling to pay for a funeral can be an isolating and upsetting experience. That’s why politicians need to speak up about this issue, and why I hope MPs will support my call for a funeral poverty bill.”
> Well, that’s unrestrained capitalism for you. Screw every penny out of you when you’re alive, and death is just another money-making opportunity.
Source – Shields Gazette, 09 Dec 2014