SAIF comments on funeral poverty debate in House of Commons

September 15, 2016   //   No Comments

MP for Belfast East Gavin Robinson tabled a debate yesterday in the House of Commons that addressed concerns around funeral poverty.  In particular, he raised the current consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions on the Social Fund and the support available to low income families having to pay for funerals.

In response to the debate, Terry Tennens, Chief Executive of SAIF, said: “It was a very thoughtful and passionate discussion and I would like to thank Gavin Robinson for highlighting what is an incredibly important issue.  Although burial and cremation costs continue to be met in full, there is no doubt that the £700 Social Fund payment for ‘non-discretionary’ third party items urgently needs reform. The figure has not increased since 2003 and is nowhere near enough to cover what many people would consider to be basic requirements – such as hiring a place of worship or the provision of an official to oversee the ceremony.

“Whilst the vast majority of SAIF members have only increased their prices in line with inflation, third party costs have risen significantly, putting enormous strain on families at an incredibly difficult time. The average £1,347 payment from the Social Fund, which includes the cost of burial or cremation, leaves a 62% deficit, with the average cost of a funeral in the UK now at £3,700.”