05 June 2019

Cremation fees rise by up to 56% over four years

8 min read

Meera Khanna, Consumer PR Manager
Meera Khanna

Corporate PR Manager - Protection


  • Cremation fees across the UK have increased by more than three times the rate of inflation over a four year period, with some areas seeing huge increases;
  • Inverness in Scotland was the location with the highest increase, with cremation fees rising by 56% over  four years, compared with a national average increase of 21%;
  • The most expensive cremations are in private crematoria with several charging more than £1,000 for a cremation;  but the cost of council-run cremations has risen rapidly, as cash-strapped councils respond to budget shortfalls.

Cremations fees across the UK have risen by an average of 21% over a four year period compared with general inflation over the same period of just 6.3% according to Royal London.

Analysis of data, gathered from 267 locations in the UK over a four year period, shows cremation fees in Inverness, Scotland, saw the largest increase (56%) from £580 in 2014 to £904 in 2018. Bath in South West England had the second highest increase with cremation fees going up from £630 to £915, which is a rise of 45%. Eight of the 10 locations with the highest increase in cremation fees were public crematoriums, which reflects the budget pressures that local council are facing.

While almost all of the crematoriums increased their fees, Manchester North was the only location which saw a decline in fees, with the cost decreasing by 6% (£715 in 2014 to £674 in 2018). Glasgow North maintained their fees at £625 over the four years.

South West England was the region that saw the highest increase, with the average cremation fee rising by 24% over four years (£691 to £855), followed by the East of England which saw fees increasing by 23% (£686 to £843). In 2018 the South West and East of England regions also had the highest average cremation fees in the UK, with fees averaging £855 and £843 respectively. Northern Ireland had the lowest fees in 2018 at £380, with prices increasing by 9% over a four year period (£350 in 2014).

The latest Royal London National Funeral Cost Index shows that eight in 10 (79%) funerals were cremation funerals. Data gathered from the 289 crematorium locations across the UK reveals that all of the top 10 locations with the highest cremation fees in 2018 were by private crematoria.  The highest cremation fee was £1,070, which was charged by nine of the top 10 locations all of which are private crematoriums: Beckenham; Chichester; Northampton; Dundee; Nuneaton; Moray; Oxford; Leatherhead; and Crawley. Belfast in Northern Ireland had the lowest cremation fees at £380.

Commenting on the research Louise Eaton-Terry, funeral expert at Royal London, said:

“While private crematoria continue to have the highest cremation fees, we have seen public crematoria introducing much greater price increases. Local authorities raising burial and cremation fees is one of the factors contributing to high funeral costs. As councils continue to be squeezed by central Government budget cuts, increasing fees is a way to raise revenue and plug the shortfall in funding. But the rise in fees is also making funerals unaffordable and forcing bereaved families into debt.”

Notes to editors:

1. Top 10 highest percentage increase in cremation fees over a four year period:

2. Top 10 highest cremation fees in 2018:

3. Average cremation fees by region

4. Methodology:

  • 2014 v 2018 cremation fees analysis – Royal London compared data for 267 UK crematoriums collected by The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) in 2014 and 2018 for a comparison on costs.
  • 2018 cremation fees analysis – The data was gathered as part of the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2018. ICCM collected costs for 289 UK crematoriums to analyse the comparative costs of cremation fees. Fieldwork for ICCM took place between April and June 2018.
  • Number of cremation funerals in the UK - Royal London commissioned two surveys from YouGov which took place between May and June 2018. The first was made up of 2,102 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+ who had organised a funeral within the past five years. The second was made up of a random sample of 1,011 UK adults aged 18+ who were asked about their funeral spending.

5. The overall inflation, as measured by CPIH, has increased by 6.3% over a four year period.

For further information please contact:

Meera Khanna, Corporate PR Manager - Protection

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £139 billion, 8.6 million policies in force and 4,348 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2020.