Cost of funerals in Scotland soars to a new high

The cost of the average burial has rocketed, a report has warned.
The cost of the average burial has rocketed, a report has warned.
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The cost of funerals is continuing to soar, a new report has warned, with families now forced to pay out an average of £1,373 to bury a loved one - eight per cent higher than last year.

Funeral bills have increased in all but three councils across Scotland, the report, ‘The Cost of Saying Goodbye 2016’, revealed, with those living in the most expensive areas paying out around £1,500 more than people burying a family member in the cheapest council areas.

This figure does not include extra costs such as flowers or funeral director fees, which can add thousands of pounds onto the final funeral bill.

In Edinburgh, where the price has risen by four per cent, people are typically paying out £2,253 - £1.552 more than in the Western Isles, where the typical cost is just £701.

Meanwhile, the cost of cremations Scotland-wide has also rocketed by 11 per cent on 2015 to £670, according to the study, published today by Citzens Advice Scotland (CAS).

North Lanarkshire saw the biggest jump in costs over the past twelve months, with the typical burial cost rising £481 to £1,727.

In some areas only private crematoriums are available. The cost of these can range up to £934 in Dundee & Moray - and on average 15 per cent more than at a local authority run facility.

CAS spokesman Fraser Sutherland said: “When someone dies you have to pay your Local Authority for burial costs like the internment and the lair (grave), as well as other costs like funeral directors and flowers.

“For the last three years we have contacted all 32 Councils in Scotland to find out the prices they charge for these services. Since last year we have seen an overall 8 per cent rise in burial costs, and that there are still huge disparities between the prices set by different councils.”

“We have found that cremations are a much less expensive form of saying goodbye, with an average charge of £670. However, even this is 11 per cent higher than the charges last year. The additional burden of costs such as funeral directors expenses, a wake and flowers make this a significant expense for many low-income families, especially if the bereavement is sudden.”

The report is published as the Scottish Government revealed that tackling the debt and spiralling costs associated with paying for a funeral will be debated at Scotland’s first national conference on funeral poverty. The event, on 16 November, will focus on how best to support people to plan ahead for their funeral.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance, said: “For families who are mourning the loss of a loved one to be faced with mounting debt and distress because of the cost of paying for a funeral is completely unacceptable.”