The National Association of Funeral Directors has today (4th September 2013) welcomed the 2013 Sun Life Cost of Dying Report, produced by the Centre for Death and Society at Bath University, as further evidence of the increasing financial strain being placed upon both the bereaved and upon funeral directors, coupled with the inadequacy of Government support for those who are unable to afford the cost of even the most basic funeral.
The report evidences that the driving force behind the 5.3% rise in the cost of the average funeral lies in the increases to disbursements – those costs usually levied by local authorities which are outside of the funeral directors’ control. Since 2007 burial fees have risen by 69% and cremation fees by 51%. In contrast, funeral directors have worked hard to keep their own costs down with only a 3.5% rise in the cost of their services in the past year, due in the main to the labour and property-intensive nature of their businesses.
Alan Slater, Chief Executive of the National Association of Funeral Directors said: “The report supports the NAFD’s own research which shows that an increasing number of people are falling into funeral poverty and that there is an average £1,277 shortfall between the limited support available from the Government’s Social Fund and the cost of a basic funeral. Sadly this is often leading either to the bereaved being forced into the arms of payday loan companies or, increasingly, leaving funeral directors with unsustainable levels of debt.”
“The NAFD has long campaigned for increases to the Social Fund. The average payment of £700.00 plus disbursements has not increased since 2003 and less than half of those who apply are successful anyway. The proposed changes to Death Certification in England and Wales next year will simply make matters worse by levying an additional fee on all burials.”
“We would advise people to make financial provision for their funeral and also to discuss, with their loved ones, what their funeral wishes would be - so that in the event of their death, their bereaved family can be certain that the funeral reflects their wishes.”
Issued on behalf of The N.A.F.D.
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