21st January 2014
The cost of a funeral has rocketed by 7.1% in the last year a University of Bath study has found. The cost for a funeral, burial of cremation now stands at £7,622 and the report by the University’s Institute for Policy Research suggests that 100,000 families will struggle to pay.
The study suggests that the average cost of a funeral has risen by 80% between 2004 and 2013. The non discretionary fees stand at £3,456, extras on flower, a memorial and catering cost £2,006 and other estate administration costs have risen to £2,160.
A social fund funeral payment, first introduced in 1988, is intended to support those who struggle to find the money to pay for a funeral.
But the report suggests that the average shortfall is £1,277 and suggests funeral poverty is 50% higher than three years ago.
Dr Kate Woodthorpe, from the university’s Centre for Death and Society, said: ‘Medical advancement has made significant improvements to death rates.
“As a result people are living longer, which requires larger incomes and pension pots to ensure these extra years can be afforded. Whether or not these will stretch to cover funeral costs is unclear. At the same time, the younger generations have less ready cash to call on, so they cannot necessarily be relied on to pick up the bill either.
“We know that the long-term decline in death rates is about to reverse, with a projected rise in the number of deaths around 15 to 20 per cent in the next two decades.
“We also know that right now, with some of the lowest death rates ever recorded, the safety nets provided by the state via the Social Fund Funeral Payment and local authority public health funerals are under pressure.”