SAIF – a cautious welcome for the CMA’s provisional decision report

13/08/2020   //   No Comments

SAIF has cautiously welcomed today’s Provisional Decision Report summary from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on its funerals market investigation. We are now studying the full Provisional Decision Report with a view to responding in more detail in due course.

We are deeply appreciative to the Authority for recognising the challenges faced by the funeral sector as a result of the coronavirus pandemic since early March 2020 and are pleased that an earlier proposal to introduce price controls, which would be inappropriate and potentially highly damaging at this time of restricted funeral services, has been shelved.

We are also pleased to see clear recognition that independents continue to offer better value for funeral services compared to the large chains like Co-op and Dignity.

With regard to proposals to monitor the funeral sector’s commercial and back of house practices and to establish an independent inspector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, SAIF is keen to understand how these practices would work and stands ready to assist in this process.

It has been an incredibly challenging year for the funeral profession, which has faced a combination of increased costs linked to PPE, additional staff hours, and temporary mortuary storage, and reduced funeral prices as a result of restricted funerals.

As such, SAIF looks forward to cooperating with the CMA and partners across the funeral sector in the coming months to establish a regulatory regime that works with a market that has changed beyond recognition because of the effects of Covid-19.

We encourage our members to read the CMA’s provisional decision reports, which can be found online here.

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