What is Funeral Poverty and what has it got to do with the United Kingdom?
In the 1970s there were UK wide Union strikes by workers fed up of the bad pay and the bad working environments when it came to safety.
Today as we are leaving the EU, there’s no strikes and there’s almost full employment but people head to food banks to eat in their millions and when people die their families cannot afford to bury them.
That’s poverty, that’s food poverty, that’s funeral poverty. It’s a staggering fact that funeral poverty has increased by 50% in the last three years – Source: Fairfuneralscampaign.org.uk as has the general guise of poverty and the impoverished itself.
It’s not you to blame, so where should the finger be pointed? Some find it easy to accuse the Government.
What Is Funeral Poverty And What Occurs?
There are many ways in which people find money to pay for a funeral when a relative or loved one suddenly dies.
Money could be obtained from the estate, the funeral paid for with an existing funeral plan and costs met or simply require topping up. Then there’s life insurance policies, assets or borrowing on a credit card or increasing the overdraft.
Funeral Poverty arrives when the deceased has to remain at an Undertaker’s facilities for five months to a year before the next of kin can afford to pay for all the Funeral Services, Disbursements, the flowers, the procession, hire cars and venue. It arrives when they cannot even afford the cost of a basic funeral.
Is it their fault? Is it the deceased’s fault? Who should own up to the reasons for funeral poverty?
To lay the blame at the feet of the government is easy.
However aid in the form of The Social Fund Funeral Payment was only ever on offer to people already on benefits, though that has allegedly either been slashed and only covers 37% of a basic funeral or it’s the fact funeral fees have risen above inflation by an extraordinary rate for the last three decades. Seeing an increase of 112% since 2004.
What Can Be Done About Funeral Poverty In The UK?
Others in the industry blame the local councils. Land prices and burial costs are levied by local administrations.
As to are most cemetery costings. Are local councils getting more greedy, is it their fault? To consider for one moment that Green funeral land and some Cemeteries are in the hands of private Co-Ops this cannot be the only reason but it doesn’t help.
It’s easy to get carried away and point to a wider problem but it may be sensible to do so. If there are so many people visiting food banks each week and they qualify for that charity and there’s millions of them.
If there are no strikes but people are struggling to pay bills, is it any wonder that they can’t afford a £4000 funeral out of the blue from their pay packets?
Funeral poverty is most definitely real but perhaps this is the defining moment in the poverty chain. The deceased lay waiting for months and a year to be buried, while their families struggle to pay bills and buy food even in supermarkets that have cheap own brand products.
The cost of dying is rising, it’s not out of the ordinary that a Celebrant, Pathologist, Doctor, Funeral Director, Carpenter, Engraver and Stone Mason as well as the Grave Digger may wish to be paid properly too.
Choosing a direct funeral can be a cheaper alternative, we have more info and an infographic which explains why direct funerals are on the rise.
Supporting Campaigns For A Solution To Funeral Poverty
On the Fair Funerals Campaign website they suggest reasons for funeral poverty, they range from: Increasing funeral costs, Burial plot shortages, Vulnerable customers – because we all make bad decisions while grieving, a confusing benefits systems and unclear pricing on Funeral Director websites, and a lack of neutral information.
At the end of this short insight into funeral poverty, we have to consider the story of our lives and that for over a century the local council has always provided for a pauper’s funeral.
Should the UK as a country get so poor that such a local service becomes the norm. Where we can’t even afford to give our loved ones the send off they deserve?
Especially when it’s just a bog standard funeral that most are after and hardly anything fancy. It’s about respect and paying our last respects.