The National Association of Funeral Directors welcomes the Royal London Funeral Costs Index as a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate about the changing nature and cost of dying in the UK. The report highlights that the rising cost of a funeral can be attributed to many factors including the increasing scarcity of burial plots and fast-rising local authority fees for burials and cremations.
The report also highlights an important point about choice. Funeral firms offer a range of prices based upon the nature of the services offered and in response to local competition, which enables families to select a funeral director that is right for them. However, cost is not the only important factor. The NAFD advises people to select a funeral firm that has signed up to a stringent Code of Practice and independent redress scheme such as our own, to ensure that they and their loved one will be properly and professionally cared for.
Under our strict Code of Practice, NAFD member firms are required to provide a transparent price list and written estimate to ensure families can make an informed choice. NAFD funeral directors are required to adapt their services in response to the needs and financial constraints of each family. It is not in their interests to sell someone a funeral they can’t afford as it would go against this commitment – and risk them being left with unpaid debts too.
The NAFD echoes Royal London’s ongoing concern about the inadequacy of Government support provided through the Social Fund for those unable to afford the funeral of a loved one. The NAFD has campaigned over many years for a comprehensive overhaul of the Social Fund Funeral Payment to ensure that it is fairer and more responsive to those who need it. Research amongst our 3,800 members suggests the system is failing to meet the needs of tens of thousands of eligible applicants and is also leaving funeral directors with increasing levels of unpaid debt. The NAFD continues to urge the Government to provide greater transparency and review the system as a matter of urgency.