Funeral poverty surges

The funeral poverty figure has risen by 23 per cent within the last year, reaching a staggering £237 million, according to research conducted by…

The funeral poverty figure has risen by 23 per cent within the last year, reaching a staggering £237 million, according to research conducted by SunLife. The cost of a basic funeral has risen by 2.9 per cent in a year to £3,693 on average. This is 29 times higher than UK inflation, and a 92.3 per cent rise since 2004, when SunLife first conducted this survey.

The number of people who are making financial provisions for their own funeral has risen to 59 per cent from 57 per cent last year. 84 per cent of these have made sufficient provision to cover the entire cost, with 27 per cent using a pre-paid funeral plan. This is an increase in one year from 24 per cent.

For those who had not made any financial provisions, or not enough to cover all of the costs, an average of £2,449 had to be found to cover the shortfall. This is an increase of 3.3 per cent from last year, a steeper rise than the cost of funerals themselves.

17 per cent of people who had to cover this shortfall reported that it caused them notable financial concern. 21 per cent had to borrow money from friends or relatives, eight per cent had to take out a loan, and 21 per cent had to use their credit card. 14 per cent had to go as far as to sell their own belongings to raise the funds.

Dean Lamble, managing director at SunLife, said: "It is clear from our report that many of us are still very uncomfortable talking about death. This is understandable, but means that in many cases those left to organise, and often pay for a funeral, are doing so without knowing what their loved one actually wanted.  This is even more unsettling when you consider the amount spent on the send-off has risen to £3,693 and the average shortfall has risen by 3.3 per cent to £2,449. As our report has shown, if we don’t make plans we put a significant financial burden on the people we leave behind and an emotional one too."

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