Rise In Funeral Expenses During Pandemic
It has been revealed that the cost of funerals, specifically the cost of a cremation, has continued to rise in the UK, despite services being reduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
One widower, who sadly lost and had a lockdown funeral for his wife said she received a “pauper’s funeral” as a result of the reduced services on offer.
Figures show that two thirds of local authorities have increased their prices by 16% compared with 2019. However, a quarter of authorities have frozen prices, whilst seven councils have cut costs due to the fact the ceremonies are shorter and fewer mourners can attend the service due to social distancing measures.
Those councils who increased their prices, have defended their position. The increase in the pricing structures were decided upon prior to the government’s social distancing measures being implemented. One of the sad effects of this pandemic means that it now costs more to have a funeral service, with fewer mourners there.
One council said that as a result of the pandemic creating more demand for funeral services, its had to provide additional training to staff to prevent the services from being overwhelmed.
It’s the anger felt by mourners, who feel that some local authorities are capitalising on those who have passed away as a result of Covid-19.
Stephen Pett of Best Funeral Plans commented:
“Local Authorities are under immense financial pressure, as is Central Government. Local Authority crematoriums will not remain inexpensive, and have scope to double their fees in many cases. They will be used as a way of plugging the hole in Local Authority Finances. This in turn will lead to more shortfalls in funeral plans which do not guarantee third party costs such as crematorium fees. Worse, this will put intense pressure on newer companies with immature Trust funds who do offer such guarantees and do not have their own crematoria. Our members are always kept up to date on such issues.”
Government guidelines issued under lockdown restricted ceremonies to close family and household members only.
Yet, as of June, the average cost of a local authority cremation in the UK was £775, up from £752 last financial year, according to BBC analysis.
Ten years ago, the average funeral cost £470.