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Funeral costs rise outstripping house prices

The cost of an average, basic funeral in the UK has increased by 3.9%, reveals new research by insurance company Royal London.

The average funeral is now £3,702 - up £140 from 2014, with costs rising almost as rapidly as house prices since 1980.

Since last year’s index, cremation costs have risen more than burials: up by an average of 4.2% to £3,294, while the average burial is up by 3.7% to £4,110.

Prices range from just under £3,000 for a cremation in Greenock, to just over £7,000 for a burial in Beckenham, Kent.

A survey of 2,000 people by YouGov has also found that more than one in 10 bereaved people struggle to pay for a funeral.

On an individual level, funeral debt is £1,318. Collectively, this equates to £98.9m.

People are cutting back on items such as coffins, and flowers. Last year’s index found people spent £1,108 on a coffin on average, but the 2015 report shows this has dropped to £989.

People are also exploring alternative burial options, with 8% now woodland burials Simon Cox, funeral cost expert at Royal London, said: “A loved one’s funeral can be a major (and sometimes unexpected) outlay, costing thousands of pounds. The rising cost of an average UK funeral is very concerning; it’s outstripped inflation considerably for many years – 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.”

Photo: Shutterstock

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