Public Health Funeral Report

Royal London’s latest research reveals there is still much that needs to be done to improve levels of local council provision with regards to public health funerals. They have a duty to arrange a public health funeral for anyone who dies in their area where there is no one willing or able to arrange one. If the deceased leaves behind assets, including property, the local authority can recover the cost of the funeral.

To establish the latest position on the differences in public health funeral provision we sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to 400 local councils and we received 383 responses.

Responses from local councils show that more than 4,000 public health funerals took place in 2018/19. The total spend on public health funerals was £6.3m and the average cost of a public health funeral to local councils is £1,507. Download and read the full report

Royal London National Funeral Cost Indexes

This is our sixth annual report on funeral costs and this year we show that the slowdown in funeral cost inflation continues. In 2019 the cost of an average funeral is £3,785, representing a marginal increase of £28 (0.7%) over the last twelve months.

Significantly, the report will show that the number of people who struggle to pay for a funeral remains at 12% but the individual shortfall they face has increased by 14% from £1,744 in 2018 to an all-time high of £1,990. Download and read the full report.

The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2018 reveals the average cost of a funeral now stands at £3,757, with costs having stabilised this year (£3,784 in 2017). One in ten (12%) people are taking on an average debt of £1,744 to give their loved ones a good send off. Download and read the full report.

The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2017 reveals the average cost of a funeral has increased by 3% from 2016 and now stands at £3,784. Funeral debt has also risen to an all-time high of £160 million as people borrow from friends and family or the bank to cover funeral costs and give their loved ones a good send off. Download and read the full report.

The latest Royal London National Funeral Cost Index reveals funeral debt in the UK has risen to £147m as people borrow from friends and family or the bank to fund the last wishes of loved ones. Royal London’s research highlights that the average cost of a funeral in the UK is now £3,675, with 93,359 adults taking on funeral debt. The average debt being taken on to cover funeral costs is £1,601, which collectively equates to £147m across the UK. Download and read the full report.

This year’s Index confirms funeral costs continue to increase ahead of overall inflation. In 2015, the average funeral rose to £3,702 - an increase of £140 since 2014. Meanwhile, more than one in ten people struggle with funeral expenses – the average individual debt is now £1,318 per person. Funeral costs continue to be a postcode lottery, as costs range from £2,976 for a cremation in Greenock, to £7,216 for a burial in Beckenham, Kent - a difference of £4,240. Download and read the full report.

This study sheds particular light on the issue of Funeral Poverty, and the large numbers of people in the UK who get into financial difficulty as a result of paying for a funeral, or who cannot afford to pay for a funeral at all. Download and read the full report.


On Thursday 12 October we hosted the first inaugural Royal London lecture ‘Where now for social care funding?’, delivered by Sir Andrew Dilnot and chaired by Alison Holt, BBC social correspondent. Earlier this year the social care debate was renewed, taking centre stage at the UK general election. It caused controversial manifesto U-turns and uproar across the country, yet many questions have still remained unanswered. Watch the full Royal London lecture below.

Special reports

When it comes to domestic jobs, we all have our preferences – as well as things that tend to fall to us regardless, whether that’s because of a perceived greater ability to perform the task, more experience or more understanding.

Find out more and read the full report here

This report demonstrates the very real value of financial advice for the consumer. Using robust statistical methods to control for a range of factors likely to determine demand for advice – including income, wealth and behavioural traits - our results show that those who take advice are likely to accumulate more financial and pension wealth, supported by increased saving and investing in equity assets, while those in retirement are likely to have more income, particularly at older ages. Our results therefore demonstrate, in a statistically robust way, the importance of financial advisers in delivering true value for their customers. Download and read the full report here.

In recent years the number of people who are self-employed has risen steadily. Self-employment will be a positive choice for many, but one drawback is that the self-employed do not have the advantage of an employer to help arrange pension provision. Whilst automatic enrolment has helped more individuals save into a pension, the current process excludes the self-employed. Aviva and Royal London present a favoured model to getting more self-employed people saving into a pension and offer detailed suggestions as to how this might work in practice. Download and read the full report here.

The report reflects on the role of religious belief in contemporary UK funerals, and the extent to which different faith groups get involved in funeral organisation and conduct. Download and read the full report here.

We all want to make the most of our money. Yet 19 million people in the UK don’t have an approach to budgeting they feel works and many struggle to manage their day-to-day money. Saving and setting aside money for emergencies can be hard and it’s estimated that 21 million people in the UK have less than £500 in savings to cover unexpected bills like mending a boiler or replacing a fridge. At Royal London we wanted to look at whether budgeting tools could help people manage their money better. Download and read the full report here.

Royal London’s second Pensions Through The Ages Report, Feeling the Squeeze shows that, over a third (34%) of people aged 35 to 44 are Squeezed, saying that paying bills and meeting everyday commitments is a constant struggle. This equates to 2.4 million people UK wide.

The research shows that they are focused on paying for the ‘here and now’, with retirement planning and saving close to the bottom of their list of financial priorities. With house prices rocketing and many at an age when they are considering or have started a family, other life-stage finances are their main priority. Download and read the full report here.

The government’s consultation, Strengthening the Incentive to Save: a consultation on pension tax relief , invited views on whether further change to the current pension system is needed to encourage more people to save and to save more. As part of this the Treasury asked whether the valuable tax relief currently available to those contributing to a pension to fund their income requirements should be changed. Download and read the full report here.

Earlier this year we commissioned YouGov to assess the extent to which Over 50s life insurance customers miss out on protection through the cancellation of their policies. Our study found almost a third (28%) of people who had purchased Over 50s life insurance subsequently cancelled their policy. It revealed that in 2014, 52,000 UK adults cancelled their Over 50s policy - collectively losing out on £86m worth of premiums which had been paid to their provider. Download and read the research report.

The massive shift in the UK’s demographic profile (over 65s doubling in number from 8m in 2001 to 16m by 2061) was always set to lead to increased demand from later life investors for on-going investment-related financial services, which is very positive for financial advisers with the right skill sets and business models. Download and read this independent research report from Cazalet Consulting.