Rise in funeral costs is outstripping inflation

The cost of a funeral has gone up by almost the same rate as house prices over the past 35 years, with more than one person in 10 struggling to foot the bill when it comes to paying for the ceremony.

According to research commissioned by Royal London, the average “basic” funeral costs £3,700, which is £140 more than a year ago. The average cost of a cremation has risen by 4.2%, to £3,294, over the past 12 months while the average burial is 3.7% more expensive, at £4,110.

Royal London has calculated that Britons have collectively accumulated debt just short of £100m thanks to funeral costs, with many people being forced to cut back on optional elements, such as flowers.

“A loved one’s funeral can be expensive – a major (and sometimes unexpected) outlay, costing thousands of pounds,” says Simon Cox, of Royal London.

“The rising cost of an average UK funeral is very concerning. It’s outstripped inflation considerably for many years [and it is] almost in line with house-price rises.

“Our study shows people are striving to meet funeral price hikes, which they have little control over. Given the stressful situation, shopping around for a funeral is often not an option.

“Instead, people are coping by cutting back on non-essentials if possible, and reconsidering how loved ones are buried.”

Meanwhile, the study of the market found that relatives use their savings to pay for funerals two thirds of the time, while about one in five is funded via a pre-paid funeral plan. Insurance policies pay for about 20% of ceremonies.