The number being carried out has also risen – from 67 in 2009-10 to 81 in 2013-14 – an increase of 17%. Public health funerals, as they are known, happen when a person dies alone or has no relatives who can pay. Councils spent £92,619 in 2013-14, up from £66,245 in 2009-10, and recovered £27,031 and £47,408 respectively from dead peoples’ estates. A Freedom of Information request by BBC Local Radio revealed that across the UK, councils spent £1.7m on public health funerals in 2013-14.
SAIF Past President Mark Woollard commented, “I think there’s been an increase in public health funerals because people don’t have as much disposable income, and also, people are living longer and alone,” he said. “A lot of [the cost] is due to third-party costs such as crematorium fees, cemetery fees, and the minster’s fees – [which] have gone up much more than the funeral directors’ costs.”
The report may be read on the BBC News website here.