Funeral expenses rise during the coronavirus pandemic
Posted on 28th August 2020
Planned cremation price increases have continued
Councils across the country have gone ahead with planned price increases for cremations during the coronavirus pandemic, despite services being reduced to 20 minutes for close family and household members only.
While these restrictions have now been eased to allow increased numbers, many families still feel that they are unable to mourn their loved ones in the way they would wish.
Although a quarter of local authorities have frozen prices for cremations this year, two thirds have increased their prices by up to 16%. Just seven councils have cut costs due to the changes during the coronavirus outbreak.
Across the UK cremation prices range from £392 to £995. In June the average cost of a local authority cremation was £775, increased from £752 last year, according to the BBC’s figures.
Councils that have increased their prices say that the decision was taken before the government’s social distancing measures were introduced. One suggested that, as a result of the increased demand for funeral services during the pandemic, it had to provide additional training to staff to prevent Council services from being overwhelmed.
UK funeral prices are a concern
The BBC has also reported that the average total cost of even a basic funeral has risen by more than 9% in a year in some regions.
Research by SunLife shows that the typical funeral cost is now £4,400, an increase of almost 3.5% compared with last year. There have been large rises in burial fees in some areas, with the highest average increase of 9.6% in the Midlands. Add in all the other costs associated with a funeral and the total can be close to £9,500.
SunLife has been tracking funeral costs since 2004 and says that the average cost of a basic burial has risen by 65% in the last decade.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the issue of funeral pricing, although the coronavirus outbreak has affected its work. The CMA is concerned that grieving families don’t have the opportunity to compare prices and might be paying too much.
Are there alternative funeral options?
One of the most expensive parts of a funeral is the service itself. As a result, some people are choosing a direct cremation. This is a cremation without a funeral service where the ashes are returned to loved ones to be kept or scattered later.
Whatever arrangements you would like for your funeral, you can fix the costs by arranging a pre-paid funeral plan.
If you are considering this option, it’s always a good idea to check what’s included and to make sure your family members know where to find all the paperwork. If you make a cash payment, make sure you have a receipt. If you move, be sure to let your provider know because your service might then be arranged by a different funeral director.
If you would like to know more about pre-paid funeral plans, please get in touch.
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