Capital families struggle with rising funeral costs

The Capital ranks second in Scotland for costs. Picture: Getty/Hemera

The Capital ranks second in Scotland for costs. Picture: Getty/Hemera

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EDINBURGH was today named one of the most expensive places in Scotland for funerals.

The Capital ranks second after East Dunbartonshire when it comes to the cost of a burial – and was also number two in the league table for prices at local authority crematoria.

There has been an average ten per cent rise and the postcode lottery still exists

Fraser Sutherland

A survey by Citizens Advice Scotland found families across the country were still struggling to afford a decent farewell for their loved ones.

The Cost of Saying Goodbye report showed the average burial fees in Scotland – excluding the likes of undertaker fees and flowers – is now £1273, ten per cent up on last year.

In Edinburgh, the cost has gone up by two per cent to £2162 – made up of £1010 for the interment and £1152 for the grave.

Meanwhile, the average cost of cremations across Scotland is £601, an increase of five per cent since last year.

A local authority cremation in Edinburgh costs £680 – three per cent up on last year, second only to Perth & Kinross.

Among Scotland’s private crematoria, Warriston and Seafield in the Capital charged £685 – two per cent up – making them joint-eighth highest out of 12.

Citizens Advice Scotland said there was still a postcode lottery in burial and cremation charges, with costs varying by over £2000 between the most expensive and the cheapest.

Funeral director costs could add £4000 to the bill with the headstone and other items on top, meaning the total cost of a funeral could be between £2600 and £8000.

CAS spokesman Fraser Sutherland said last year the number of people visiting a citizens advice bureaux because of problems with funeral costs rose by 27 per cent from the previous year and this year the number had risen again by 35 per cent.

He said: “When someone dies you have to pay not just the funeral directors, florists and so on, but you also have to pay your local authority for the costs of the interment and the grave.

“There has been an average ten per cent rise in burial costs since last year and the postcode lottery still exists.

“We have seen a massive increase in the numbers of Scots coming to the CAB because they can’t afford to pay these huge costs. We have met with Scottish Government ministers and will continue to work with other campaign groups to highlight these issues and campaign for change.”

Mark Porteous, of Edinburgh-based Porteous Independent Funeral Directors, called for a cap on rises in funeral charges. “Councils should not just have an open ticket on the price of cremation or burial,” he said.

A council spokeswoman said: “The cost of cremations and burials carried out by the council is in line with that charged by commercial crematoria and other local authority bereavement services in Scotland.

“The income is reinvested to improve bereavement facilities provided by the council to all those who have suffered a loss and in the vital maintenance of Edinburgh’s 42 cemeteries.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com