21 October 2019

Why we're calling on the government to help struggling families with funeral debt

5 min read



When someone dies it can have a big impact on those who are left behind in many ways including their finances. Did you know the average cost of a funeral in the UK is now close to £3,800? Year on year the costs continue to rise. 

What that means is that people are increasingly taking on debt, and individual funeral debt is at an all-time high, our latest research has shown.

In the short term, the costs associated with a funeral are not just expensive, they are very often unexpected which can put additional strain on an already challenging situation.

People may not be aware, but there are a number of things that they can do to help reduce the financial strain that a funeral can cause. A good start is having an honest conversation with funeral directors and the budget they have available as they will be able to advise you on how to bring the costs down. For example, people may not use a limousine, or may not have a ceremony with the funeral – and choose to celebrate the life of the deceased in their own way afterwards.

An alternative to a traditional funeral could be something known as a direct cremation, where there is no service. Loved ones aren’t present at the cremation and instead hold a celebration of life separately.

With thousands of people going into debt to pay for a funeral, we’re calling on the government to do more to help families who are facing funeral poverty. Ultimately, we’re asking for an increase in the value of the social fund funeral payment, which aims to help people who are struggling with funeral costs. The fund has been fixed for 16 years and is now inadequate to support those who need it most.

You can find our 2019 National Funeral Cost Index report here