Families plunged into debt as burial and cremation fees more than double

Burial and cremation fees have soared by up to 124 per cent in four years – forcing some ­families into debt, research shows.

The biggest increase is in Poole, Dorset, where burial costs have shot up by 124 per cent from £1,450 to £3,255.

But the most expensive place to be laid to rest is Wandsworth, South London, which charges £4,861 per plot.

The figures were revealed by insurance giant Royal London, which says town halls are ramping up prices to make up for government budget cuts.

The most expensive place to be buried was Wandsworth, in South London


Louise Eaton-Terry, of Royal London, said: “The rise in fees is making funerals unaffordable and forcing some bereaved ­families into debt.”

In Islington, North London, burial costs have jumped by 106 per cent since 2014, from £2,158 to £4,445.

The next biggest jump is in Rugby, Warwickshire, up 87 per cent from £1,070 to £2,000, followed by Lytham St Annes, Lancs, with an increase of 85 per cent from £850 to £1,575.

Separate research shows councils are planning further hikes to make savings.

In Tameside, Gtr Manchester, burial fees are due to rise from £755 to £850, while in Crewkerne, Somerset, they are to nearly double from £345 to £650.

Cardiff is raising the cost of ­cremations from £560 to £640 and burials from £660 to £760 to plug a £35million gap.

City councillor Chris Weaver said: “Our ­budget is being cut in real terms again. Councils across the UK are under increasing pressure and it’s the services our ­citizens rely on that will bear the brunt of seemingly never-ending austerity.”

Other research has revealed councils are planning further hikes


This week Birmingham city council increases burial fees from £681 to £1,054.

The city’s Muslim burial council, which is fighting the move, said: “The increased cost will result in many difficulties for families who struggle to meet the cost of a burial in Birmingham which already is one of the highest in the UK.”

The council said: “Unfortunately our annual revenue budget has been cut by almost £700million and that has forced us to make some very tough choices.”

The Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the soaring cost of funerals.

In the past year, council cremation fees shot up by an average 4.9 per cent while burial fees are up 6.1 per cent. The official inflation rate is 1.9 per cent.

Councils operate two thirds of Britain’s crematoriums.

The Local Government Association, said: “Council fees account on average for less than a quarter of the overall cost of a cremation, and less than half that of a burial.”

Jon Levett, of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said: “In the past three years, funeral directors have worked hard to keep charges down or even lower them in some cases.

“The same cannot be said for local authorities, which have hiked prices above inflation year after year.”

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