Why are funeral prices increasing?

February 18, 2019   //   No Comments

In this month’s blog, SAIF Government Liaison Rep Paul Allcock, considers alternative reasons behind funeral cost increases rather than simply pointing the finger at the funeral director.

This week the fee for a death certificate from the Registrar
has significantly increased from £4 to £11. This increase almost trebles the
cost of a death certificate and in these times of austerity, I think this is
highly inappropriate.  

Most families tend to require around half a dozen
certificates for the purposes of administering bank accounts, life insurances,
shareholdings etcetera and it’s not unusual for people to request 10 or more
copies.   So overnight, bereaved families are going to find themselves paying
the best part of a hundred pounds for a typical set of death certificates.
  This may seem small fry in relation to the overall cost of a funeral but
it comes at a time when independent funeral directors, by and large, have held
their fees or applied only inflationary rises for a number of years.

Meanwhile, public authorities, whether it’s cremation and
burial fees – and now death certification fees – seem to think it’s okay to
exploit people at their most vulnerable with double-digit price increases.
  It seems the cost of funerals will continue to rise, despite restraint
on prices from the funeral profession. 

We currently have the ongoing enquiry into funeral services by the CMA and both SAIF and myself in responses to their interim report have made them well aware of the significant increases in the cost of local authority services.  How far will this be allowed to go?  And at what point will they be creating sufficient income?

Local Authorities are evidently having to increase income
streams from their local services due to decreasing support from Central
Government.  I sympathise with this, but
at what point will government departments both nationally and locally finally
realise that they need to look no further than their own doorstep to see one
of, if not the leading reason for the excessive price increases of funerals.
Perhaps there will even be a realisation amongst some groups that funeral
directors aren’t so bad after all.