Funeral costs continue to rise above inflation


The average funeral cost in the UK is now £3,702, according to the results of a new survey by life insurance and pensions provider Royal London.

The survey found that the average costs of arranging funerals have increased by 3.9% from last year – far above the current level of inflation.

This represents an incremental increase of £140, and highlights the fact that 1 in 10 of us Brits admit to finding it a financial struggle to meet the escalating funeral costs – yet the study also exposes the underlying fact that how much you pay can depend on where you live.

It’s said that a cremation in Greenock in Scotland would cost roughly £2,976, yet were the very same ceremony to take place in Beckenham in Kent, then the relatives would be picking up a tab for £7,216.

The statistics would support claims that cremations are rising faster than burials across the whole of the UK, as the National Funeral Cost Index for 2015 reveals that cremations increased by an average of 4.2% (resulting in £3,294 in monetary terms), while burials witnessed a 3.7% hike (bringing the average burial price to £4,110).

Home nation-wise, and Wales observed the largest rise in funeral costs over the past 12 month period, up by 5.2%, with Scotland as a whole acknowledging just 2.4%.

Looking at the regions and the West Midlands along with both Yorkshire and Humberside were recognised as the biggest risers, taking into account their 4% upturns on the previous year’s figures.

Those in Scotland pay dignificantly less for funerals than those in the South East

On the back of these findings, Royal London is lobbying the Government to find what it fervently believes should be ‘better outcomes for bereaved UK citizens’, which amongst its proposals include an overhaul of the Social Fund Funeral Payment scheme, which the insurer thinks is no longer fit for purpose.

Originally designed to cover the cost of a basic funeral for those on low incomes when no other relative was able to share the accumulative costs, with its current powers it provides a mere 35% towards the overall cost of a funeral when triggered.

One of Royal London’s funeral cost experts, Simon Cox says;

The rising cost of an average UK funeral is very concerning; it’s outstripped inflation considerably for many years – almost in line with house price rises, which as we know continue to rise rapidly as demand outstrips supply.

It is not surprising to see funeral debt rising in UK households, with more than one in ten people (13%) now struggling to pay for a funeral. The average debt incurred due to a funeral now stands at £1,318, which is why people are cutting-back when it comes to paying for essential items such as coffins, and optional elements such as flowers.

To learn more about financially planning for a funeral read our recent guide: Is it worth taking out funeral cover?