Families across Scotland are still being hit with rising funeral costs, according to a new report published by Citizens Advice Scotland.
The new report, The Cost of Saying Goodbye 2016, details the rising prices of burials and cremations in all of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities.
It finds that:
- the basic cost of burial fees in Scotland (i.e. not including undertakers fees) is now on average £1,363. That’s a 7% increase since last year.
- This cost has increased in all but three Councils.
- There is still a postcode lottery in these charges, with the costs varying by over £1,500 between the most expensive and least expensive Councils.
- The most expensive is The City of Edinburgh, and the least expensive is still the Western Isles for the third year running.
- Meanwhile the cost of local authority cremations is on average £670: an increase of 11% since last year.
- In some areas only private crematoriums are available, the cost of these can range up to £934 in Dundee & Moray.
Publishing the report, CAS spokesman Fraser Sutherland says,
“When someone dies you have to pay your Local Authority for burial costs like the internment and the lair (grave), as well as other costs like funeral directors and flowers. For the last three years we have contacted all 32 Councils in Scotland to find out the prices they charge for these services. Since last year we have seen an overall 8% rise in burial costs, and that there are still huge disparities between the prices set by different councils.
“For example the burial costs in Edinburgh are £1,200 higher than in West Lothian, a neighbouring local authority, and the cost difference between the most expensive location, Edinburgh, and the cheapest location, Western Isles, is £1,552. Costs levied by local authorities can increase for a number of reasons, some have made substantial investment in new crematorium or graveyards while others have looked to reduce current subsidies as a result of tighter budgets.”
“We have found that cremations are a much less expensive form of saying goodbye, with an average charge of £670. However, even this is 11% higher than the charges last year. In some areas of Scotland only a private crematorium is available with fees being on average 15% more at a private crematorium than a local authority run one. The additional burden of costs such as funeral directors expenses, a wake and flowers make this a significant expense for many low-income families, especially if the bereavement is sudden.
“Since 2012, we have seen an 83% rise in people coming to a CAB because they’re struggling with funeral costs. Burial and cremation charges are a major problem and need to be addressed urgently. We have been working with Scottish Government Ministers on their forthcoming Funeral Costs plan and will continue to work with other campaign groups to highlight these issues and campaign for change.”