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Why Is the Cost of Dying in The UK Continuing to Increase?

With the cost of living rising, how are we as a nation coping with the increased costs of funerals and afterlife care? So, let’s have a look into what funerals include and any costs that can be attributed to the rise in funeral care.

Research has shown that the average funeral cost in the UK and Ireland has risen by a massive 30%. With the estimated national average for funeral costs being an astonishing £4,000, so why is this? Largely this is due to local councils and governments increasing charges in order to regain funding as a result of budget cuts.  This, in turn, has a domino effect with funeral directors increasing their charges above the inflation rate.

So, What Does the Cost of Dying Include?

When faced with this question it is easy to get overwhelmed so let’s try and break it down for you. The cost of dying is not one single cost it’s an amalgamation of different services involved.  This includes:

The basic funeral. Fees for the Burial or cremation itself, the funeral director, doctor and the minister or celebrant

The send-off. Costs of Flowers, Funeral stationery, extra limos/transportation for guests, a venue and catering for the celebration.

Solicitors. Someone who can administer the estate, deal with the will and probate issues.

What Other Factors Can be a Cause of This Increase?

The internet. As Friends and loved ones turn to comparison websites for the best deals, this, in turn, can cause a reduction in Turn over for funeral directors, having this reduction in revenue due to a web-based competitive market and reduction in footfall trade, prices will naturally increase.

Brexit. With Brexit looming in the not so distant future, it would be naïve to believe that this will not impact funeral care. With new legislation being introduced in the EU, regarding the formalisation of formaldehyde in embalming fluid, if as a nation, we decide to stay within the EU single market for the next 21 months post-Brexit this legislation should be transposed into UK Law.  This in itself will have a huge impact as there is no alternative for use at this point. Causing a legal uncertainty within the industry, for this and many other products used within the embalming process.

Another factor to be resolved within the Brexit issues is the death of a loved one while in the EU. The impact of Brexit will be such that costs of transportation for deceased expats or holidaymakers will be subject to higher shipping fees and taxes. This will not only add costs but also time as bodies will need customs clearance before being released to the Funeral Directors for preparations.  

This will also impact the supply chain as the importing and exporting of much-needed supplies will be subject to increased shipping costs.

Where you live. Research has highlighted that where we live in the UK can also affect the costs of funeral plans. For example, in Omah Northern Island the average Burial will cost £255 compared to South West London at a cost of £4,561 nearly 18 times what it would cost in Omah.  So what are we paying for? On average half of the burial costs will go on the burial itself, paying for the gravedigger the Coffin and the lease or buying the burial plot.  Whereas a third of cremation costs, pay for the crematorium service itself.  

Heavy fuel and diesel costs are also an underlining factor to consider, from transporting the bodies from homes/ hospices or hospitals to the funeral itself, with fuel duties increasing on a daily basis this is a huge contributor to the consistent rise in funeral costs.

In some cases, the type of funeral will increase the cost, with loved ones choosing more and more elaborate funerals to give their family members a send-off they deserve. It has also been said that the cost of funerals is rising because there is so much profit in it.

Reasons for the Rise in Cremation Costs

  • 50% of this rise is due to cuts to Local Authorities budgets by the central government.
  • 17% the continued rise of Fuel and Diesel costs.
  • 16% Mercury Emission Abatement Target introduced in 2013.

Reasons for the Rise in Burial Costs

  • 35% is due to a lack of space for new graves.
  • 25% due to the reduction in local authority funding.
  • 11% is contributed by the increased investment of the cemetery infrastructure.
  • 5% This is due to a reduced number of burials, partially due to the decrease in death rates and the increase of people choosing cremations over burials.

So Why Does Dying Cost So Much?

Most of what we pay is for the funeral itself which makes up nearly half of the total expenditure on average being £4,271 this will cover the costs of the Burial/Cremation, the doctor and the minister conducting the service itself. On average the send-off including Death notice and Funeral stationary, Limos, flowers, catering and venues for the wake will cost in the region off £2,061. Professionals/ Solicitor to administer the estate will cost on average £2,872. Leaving a total cost of £9,204 for your average funeral in the UK.

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