Back in April, our MD, Daniel Curran discussed the rise in pauper funerals across the UK, and today we were intrigued to see the BBC Breakfast highlighting just that. They openly detail the cost to local councils of “pauper funerals” has risen almost 30% to £1.7m in the past four years.
These are services paid for by the local authority when someone has died without relatives or money, or when their relatives have been unable to fund the service.
As the population continues to grow, there has been a steady increase across the UK in the number of Pauper (Public Health Act) Funerals over the past five years, with some areas seeing figures double.
BBC Breakfast revealed the biggest increase was in south-east England where there was a rise of 24% since 2009-10, followed by Scotland, where the number went up by 21%. It also rose significantly in the West Midlands and Wales.
However, the largest rise in cost was in south-west England – where public health funerals cost councils 39% more now than they did four years ago. Scotland has also seen a sharp rise in cost, while the north-east of England has seen a similarly steep increase.
With an average cost of £1000 per funeral, Section 46 funerals will become an increasing burden to councils and divert essential funds away from critical areas. Funeral poverty is an unexpectedly potent indicator of the combined impact of recession, austerity, low wages and the insecure job market.
Graham Taylor, from Lewisham Council, explains what happens when someone dies without any next of kin, in this clip.
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