Funeral costs rising as rapidly as house prices

The cost of an average, basic funeral has risen by 3.9 per cent since 2014, according to new research undertaken by Royal London. 

The Nationa…

The cost of an average, basic funeral has risen by 3.9 per cent since 2014, according to new research undertaken by Royal London. 

The National Funeral Cost Index 2015 published by Royal London reveals that the average funeral is now £3,702, a rise of £140 from 2014. This increase is higher than annual UK inflation of one per cent. The results show that the price of a funeral has risen almost as swiftly as house prices since 1980. 

While burials are still more expensive, cremation costs have risen much faster since 2014 with a 4.2 per cent increase to £3,294, while burials have increased by 3.7 per cent to £4,110. 

Much the same as housing, the cost of a funeral does depend on location. Beckenham in Kent has the highest average cost of £5,372. The cost for a burial in this area is much higher at an average of £7,216 with the average cost for a cremation at £3,529. In contrast, Belfast has an average funeral cost of just £3,008; £3,027 for a burial and £2,989 for a cremation. Unsurprisingly London has the highest average costs, with the South West coming in the cheapest.

A survey of 2,000 people by YouGov found that 13 per cent of people in the UK struggle to pay for a funeral today. With an average funeral debt for one person standing at £1,318, this equates to £98.9 million across the UK. Given the increase in costs it is not surprising to see funeral debt rising in UK households. 

According to the data published by Royal London, to cope with rising costs people are cutting-back when it comes to paying for essential items such as coffins. The 2014 Index showed that people spent an average of £1,108 on a coffin, but the 2015 report shows this has dropped to £989, a decrease of 11 per cent. 

Simon Cox, a funeral cost expert at Royal London, said: "Our study shows people are striving to meet funeral price hikes, which they have little control over. Given the stressful situation, shopping around for a funeral is often not an option. Instead people are coping by cutting back on non-essentials if possible, and reconsidering how loved ones are buried."

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