The cost of funerals is continuing to soar, a new report has revealed, with families in the Capital now forced to pay out £2253 to bury a loved one – the most expensive in Scotland.
The report, The Cost of Saying Goodbye 2016, published today by Citzens Advice Scotland, details the rising prices of burials and cremations in all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. It found that the cost has increased in all but three councils – with the price of a basic burial rising to an average of £1373 over the past year. 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.
Across the country, a typical burial costs eight per cent more than last year, while the cost of cremations has also rocketed by 11 per cent on 2015 to £670. In Edinburgh, where the price has risen by four per cent, people are typically paying out £2253 – more than £1500 extra compared to those living in cheaper areas of Scotland.
Meanwhile in Midlothian, the cost has shot up by 14 per cent to £1141 and in West Lothian, it has increased by five per cent. East Lothian has experienced a more modest increase of one per cent over the past 12 months, but mourners are still being forced to pay £1289 to bury a family member. In some areas only private crematoriums are available, the report found.
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 eight 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 November 16, will focus on how best to support people to plan ahead for their funeral, helping people understand their choices and developing more affordable funeral options.
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 and I’m determined to address it.”