William Eichler 31 August 2017

Funeral debt at ‘all-time high’, research reveals

Funeral debt at ‘all-time high’, research reveals image

Funeral debt has increased to an all-time high as funeral costs increase, research reveals.

Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2017 has revealed that funeral poverty has reached an all-time high of £160m with those struggling to pay funeral costs taking on an average debt of £1,680.

It also found the average cost of a funeral has increased to £3,784.

One in six (16%) of those who took part in Royal London’s annual study said they struggled with funeral costs. Many people reported taking on an average debt of £1,680.

Among those who struggled, one in four said they borrowed money from family and friends (26%) and a further one in four (23%) went into debt by taking out a loan or going into their overdraft to pay funeral costs.

A record number of people were also selling their possessions to repay funeral debt, with one in 10 (10%) of those struggling with funeral payments taking this approach. 

For a second year, Kensal Green in London is the most expensive location in the UK for a funeral with an average cost of £6,516, an increase of 1% from 2016. Belfast retains its place as the cheapest location with the average cost of a funeral at £3,036.

The research found ‘no frills’ funerals are popular. Of all the cremation funerals held, 10% did not include a ceremony or service.

The combined spending on venue and catering for funerals has increased by 10% from £765 in 2014 to £840 in 2017.

‘The decline in funeral inflation we identified last year was a temporary respite, as our latest research shows funeral costs are on the rise again,’ said Royal London’s funeral cost expert, Louise Eaton-Terry.

‘With thousands of bereaved people struggling to pay funeral costs and taking on nearly £1,700 in debt to ensure their loved one has a decent send-off, it is clear that Government action to tackle funeral poverty is long overdue.’

Royal London called on policymakers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow Scotland’s lead and do away with the fees charged by doctors to bereaved families for certifying a death, currently around £164.

‘The Scottish government is leading the way with its commitment to providing help and guidance on funeral costs for consumers,’ continued Ms Eaton-Terry.

'We want Westminster to follow Scotland’s lead and do more to address the issue of rising funeral debt.’

LGPS: Unlocking infrastructure image

LGPS: Unlocking infrastructure

Pension funds can play an important role backing useful projects such as railway infrastructure, water companies and green energy. Mark Whitehead met a man whose organisation invests local government pensions constructively.
Maximising tech spend image

Maximising tech spend

David Beggs calls on local government to take a much broader view of technology to get the most value from it.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Mental Health Co-ordinator x2 - D-BIT Emotional Wellbeing Team

Essex County Council
£38400 - £46475 per annum + Plus Excellent Benefits Package
Possesses an accredited degree or diploma level, professional qualification in at least one of the following; youth and community, social work, mental health nursing, occupational therapy, special educational needs and teaching, or probation. England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner – Looked After Children & Permanence

London Borough of Bexley
£42,198 - £48,156 inclusive of benefit
If this sounds exciting and reassuring, we want you to get in touch with us. Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Senior Practitioner – Family Support & Child Protection

London Borough of Bexley
£42,198 - £48,156 inc benefits
Do you think you have what it takes to join our team of excellent and dedicated social work professionals? Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Social Worker- Children in Care

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Please note this role is based in Colchester and is open to Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs). The starting salary for NQSW is £27,775 per annum England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Workers – Looked after Children and Permanence

London Borough of Bexley
£32,517 - £41,934 (inclusive of Choices Flexible Benefits of £2,370 pa)
If this sounds exciting and reassuring, we want you to get in touch with us. Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue