Royal London study shows UK funeral debt reaches £142m

October 16, 2014   //   No Comments

The latest funeral costs study by Royal London on 10th October shows that people in the UK are getting into debt to pay for funeral costs.  The report says that the UK’s Social Fund Funeral Payment system needs a fundamental review.

This annual study discovered that the average cost of a funeral in the UK is now £3,551, although the cost ranges from £2,859 for a cremation in Belfast to £6,899 for a burial in Beckenham, Kent.  Over 100,000 people have incurred funeral debt, with the average debt being £1,305, amounting collectively to £142m across the UK.  On behalf of Royal London, YouGov surveyed 1,988 people who arranged a funeral in the past five years. Just under half (46%) of respondents said it cost ‘more’ than they expected. Amongst those who said the costs were ‘more’ than they expected, (42%) admitted they had problems meeting the cost.

The study was commissioned to understand how people in the UK pay for funerals. Founded in 1861 to help people pay for their funerals, this is a key focus for Royal London as it continues to provide life insurance to people today. Currently the mutual is working with others in this space, such as government and charities, to understand the financial barriers that people face. One of the key concerns Royal London has identified is the Social Fund Funeral Payment system.

Royal London says a fundamental review of the Social Fund Funeral Payment system (the UK’s funeral state safety net) is required, but there are immediate ways to ease the pressure. For example, the Fund’s cap of £700, in place to meet ‘other funeral expenses’, should be index-linked to inflation, and adjusted to reflect current UK living costs.

You may read the full article here.

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