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Cost Of Dying Very High

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Costs Of Funerals Means Someone Is Making A Lot Of Money Out Of Peoples Bereavement Says GMB

At a time when the cost of living occupies most people’s concerns it will be a real shock to many living in that the cost of dying is so high says GMB

GMB, the union for funeral and cemetery workers, commented on a new report from University of Bath's Institute for Policy Research which says that the poorest people in society cannot afford to die because of the rising cost of funerals. See notes to editors for story on press association.

GMB produced a comprehensive study on funeral costs in June last year covering all council areas in the UK. This is available on the GMB website http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/cost-of-dying. See national press release in notes to editors 2 below.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said, “At a time when the cost of living occupies most peoples concerns it is a real shock to many living in that the cost of dying is so high.

While GMB realises that the public are not queuing up to test the services it remains a fact that few have any idea of how much even a simple burial or cremation actually costs.

When council charges are included the average funeral costs are £3,284 and the total costs average over £7,000 according to some surveys.

Someone is making a lot of money out of peoples bereavement.”

End

Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB National Equality & Inclusion Officer on 07956 237178 or Brian Strutton GMB National Secretary for Public Services on 07860 606137 or Gary Doolan GMB National Political Office 07852 182358 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

1 story on Press Association.

Poor people 'cannot afford to die'

21 Jan 2014 - 00:01

By Rod Minchin, Press Association

The poorest people in society cannot afford to die because of the rising cost of funerals, a report has revealed.

Researchers said the average cost of dying - including funeral, burial or cremation and state administration - stands at £7,622, having risen by 7.1% in the past year.

They estimate that over 100,000 people will struggle to pay for a funeral this year alone.

The authors of the study at the University of Bath's Institute for Policy Research have called on the Government to review the current system of state support for funeral costs.

In spite of the lowest-ever recorded mortality rates for England and Wales, the cost of dying has steadily increased over recent years.

The average cost of a funeral in fact rose by 80% between 2004 and 2013 and the costs of dying are expected to continue to increase over the next five years.

On average, the price of a typical funeral, including non-discretionary fees and a burial or cremation, is £3,456.

The average amount spent on extras such as a memorial, flowers and catering is £2,006 and discretionary estate administration costs have increased significantly to £2,160.

For families on low incomes, the Social Fund Funeral Payment, first introduced in 1988, is intended to support those who struggle to find the money to pay for a funeral.

However, the report challenges the effectiveness and availability of this provision. By highlighting an average shortfall of £1,277 that many face, the report suggests that 'funeral poverty' today is some 50% higher than three years ago.

The report had challenged the Government to rethink the Department for Work and Pensions-administered payment, which is highlighted as 'outdated', 'overly complex' and 'insufficient' at meeting the needs of the poorest in society.

It also found that local authorities have experienced a small but notable increase in demand for public health funerals, on the grounds that individuals are not prepared to organise or pay for the funeral of a family member.

Through interviews with claimants and key stakeholders, the researchers identified flaws with the current system, including how eligible claimants are obliged to commit to funeral costs before submitting their claim for funeral payment.

By doing this they are making poorly informed financial decisions which risks debt for close family members.

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% 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.

"Their sustainability into the future is debatable."

The report, Funeral poverty in the UK: issues for policy, was co-organised and hosted by the International Longevity Centre-UK and launched at an event in Westminster.

Baroness Sally Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre - UK, said: "Modern medicine and advances in public health have led to falls in the number of deaths over many decades.

"But the pattern of falling death numbers is about to turn around and start to increase.

"With growing funeral costs, quite simply, growing numbers of people might find they can't afford to die.

"Government must act now before the current issue of funeral poverty becomes an even more significant future crisis.

"As a society we don't talk enough about dying. But nor do public policy makers. We must find a way to open a debate about dying early and ensure that we and our families are as prepared as we possibly can be."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "The Funeral Payment scheme continues to cover the necessary costs of burial or cremation in full, because we know that these costs may vary widely across the country.

"A significant contribution is also made towards the fee levied by funeral directors which is currently set at £700.

"Other costs are also met in full, for example the cost of any doctors' certificates and certain travel expenses.

"To put this into context, the average social fund funeral payment last year was £1,225.

"In addition to the Funeral Payment scheme, Social Fund Budgeting Loans have been extended to cover costs relating to funeral expenses."

2 GMB press release Wednesday 5th June 2013

 

COST OF DYING OVER £7,000 AS NEW GMB SURVEY REVEALS UK COUNCIL CHARGES FOR BURIALS AND CREMATIONS

It will be a real shock to many living in the UK that the cost of dying is so high that someone is making a lot of money out of peoples’ bereavement GMB Congress told

The City of London charge £3,464 for a cremation. This is the highest cremation charge in a council in the UK.

The other councils in the top 20 for cremation charges are as follows: Wandsworth £2,350, Croydon £2,265, Lambeth £2,132, Stoke-on-Trent £2,045, Manchester £2,012.25, Rushmoor  £1,984, Walsall £1,892,  Sutton  £1,865,  Sandwell £1,837,  Bexley £1,836,  Wolverhampton £1,811, Barnet £1,798, Merton £1,786,  Ipswich £1,743 and  Bristol £1,675, Coventry £1,661 Sefton £1,655, Spelthorne £1,648 and Kingston upon Thames £1,635. The details are set out in the table below.

The top 20 councils for the cost of burial are as follows: Lambeth £5,329, City of London £5,185, Wandsworth £4,190, Merton £4,125, Croydon £4,106, Enfield £3,665, Bromley £3,647,  Kensington & Chelsea £3,600, Bexley £3,256, Richmond upon Thames £3,190, Barking and Dagenham £3,170, Spelthorne £2,992, Southwark £2,984, Havering £2,955, Hammersmith & Fulham £2,940, Rushmoor £2,837, Southend-on-Sea £2,730, Barnet £2,692, Brent £2,675 and Exeter £2,650.

These figures were revealed today at GMB Congress and come from a GMB study for all councils in the UK. The figures for council charges in all twelve UK regions  are set out as pdfs at the foot of the national press release at

www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom. Overall these cover charges in 406 councils in England, Walesm Northern Ireland and Scotland.

These charges are major items in The Sun Life Direct Cost of Dying Survey. The  2012 edition states that the average funeral costs are £3,284. If all the services are included, for example, funeral director’s costs, doctor’s fees for certification, flowers, limousines and catering for the wake/reception then the total average is £7,114.

GMB Congress comprising of 500 lay member delegates, finishes today in Plymouth Pavilions Thursday 6th June. The delegates were elected to attend the GMB Congress to represent over 620,000 members in every part of the UK and Ireland and from every sector of the economy. Congress is the supreme policy making body in the union. Also attending were 300 visitors and guests drawn mainly from GMB organized workplaces around the UK and Ireland.

TOP 20 COUNCILS FOR CHARGES FOR CREMATIONS IN COUNCILS IN THE UK

 

 

Cremation, interment of ashes and Exclusive Burial Rights

1

City of London^^

£3,464.00

2

Wandsworth***** ^^

£2,350.00

3

Croydon

£2,265.00

4

Lambeth

£2,132.00

5

Stoke-on-Trent

£2,045.00

6

Manchester*

£2,012.25

7

Rushmoor

£1,984.00

8

Walsall

£1,892.00

9

Sutton^^

£1,865.00

10

Sandwell

£1,837.00

11

Bexley$

£1,836.00

12

Wolverhampton

£1,811.00

13

Barnet

£1,798.00

14

Merton^^

£1,786.00

15

Ipswich

£1,743.00

16

Bristol, City of

£1,675.00

17

Coventry

£1,661.00

18

Sefton

£1,655.00

19

Spelthorne$$

£1,648.00

20

Kingston upon Thames$$$$

£1,635.00

 

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said, “At a time when the cost of living occupies most peoples concerns it will be a real shock to many living in that the cost of dying is so high.

 

While GMB realises that the public are not queing up to test the services it remains a fact that few have any idea of how much even a simple burial or cremation actually costs.

 

When council charges are included the average funeral costs are £3,284 and the total costs average over £7,000 according to some surveys.

 

Someone is making a lot of money out of people’s bereavement.”

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors:

^^ including 30 minute service. Grave cost includes first interment fee, 60 year lease

** no EBR for interment of ashes

***** cremated remains purchase includes first burial

* Manchester - graveyard fee includes first burial

$  Eltham Crematorium governed by a joint committee from Bexley, Greenwich and Dartford councils, the main administration is run by Greenwich Council

$$ South West Middlesex Crematorium: Boroughs of Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames and Spelthorne

$$$$ EBR fee includes first interment

 

 

 

 

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