A fresh survey has highlighted that the average cost of a funeral in certain regions of the UK had soared by a whopping 9%. These regions included Midlands, Wales, Southeast and East of England. The annual report titled Cost of Dying from the insurance provider SunLife noted that The UK average was up 3.1 per cent to £9,493, it found, including the cost of a basic funeral (£4,417), a send-off (£2,306) and professional fees (£2,771). The same report noted that London saw a slower growth of 1.4 per cent in these high costs. Yet, the city also remains the most expensive in funeral care.
This comes at a time when the sector is already facing investigations and regulatory scrutiny over high prices and a lack of transparency for consumers. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is scheduled to deliver its results this year in September on the on-going investigation into the funeral market, following 14 years of above-inflation price rises in the sector. The CMA has also highlighted the cost of crematoria services, where the largest private operators had bumped up prices by between 6 and 8 per cent a year for the previous eight years.
The CMA points out that while the customers could save more than £1,000 by looking at a range of funeral providers, grieving families are not in a position to shop around for a cheaper deal because costs are not clearly set out on marketing material or websites.
The National Association of Funeral Directors, an industry body, understands that the biggest cause of cost rises in the SunLife research was the professional fees associated with probate and increases in mandatory burial and cremation fees. In a statement to the Financial Times, it said,
Jon Levett, NAFD chief executive, said: “While most funeral directors have held, or even reduced, their professional fees in recent years, the [SunLife] report also indicates that the overall cost of a funeral has risen due to families choosing more elaborate and personalised funeral options — which naturally adds to the cost.”