Despite the frenzy led by some politicians over funeral poverty, the number of people unable to afford a funeral has not grown in two years, according to YouGov research.

The new survey revealed that 12% of people surveyed said they had no means of paying for a funeral in any way, the same figure as when previous YouGov research was carried out two years ago. However, the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said today that those in that bracket will continue to struggle until the inadequacies of the Government’s Funeral Expenses Payment, which has remained static since 2003, is addressed.

The survey also revealed that the majority of people surveyed who have used a funeral director in the last five years do NOT think that funerals are too expensive, with 83% saying that funeral directors are offering good value for money.

It also highlights the need for a change in consumer thinking – the majority of Brits accept that it is their responsibility to pay for their own funeral, yet 59% have not made any plans to do so.

Abi Pattenden, President of the National Association of Funeral Directors, which commissioned the public poll, said: “The public attitude feels very much at odds with the political agenda and highlights that while there are people who cannot pay for a funeral, and who need the support of society, that number is not rising. We read in the press headline like ‘funeral costs time bomb’, but this survey does not indicate that.

“For those though the struggle continues and through ongoing discussions with the Government we are working tirelessly for a substantial increase in the funeral expenses payment.”

She added: “The research also highlights that for people who have organised funerals, cost is a far lower priority than making it personal and following the wishes of their loved one.

“This is important research to understand the public’s view on funerals, which should help drive the political and media agenda.”

The research forms part of the NAFD’s recent submission to the Competition & Markets Authority investigation into the funeral sector.

The results included:

  • 12% of Brits said they had no means to pay for a funeral in any way, the same figure as NAFD/YouGov research showed two years ago.
  • Keeping costs down was only the seventh priority for those surveyed who had organised a funeral in the last 5 years; behind making it personal (56%), following the wishes of their loved one (54%) and making it a celebration of the deceased person’s life (52%)
  • 84% of people surveyed arranging a funeral did not shop around for their funeral director, with 66% of these saying they already knew which funeral director they were going to use.
  • 84% of Brits want funeral directors to publish prices online, while 75% said a funeral was a consumer purchase and people should do their research before arranging a funeral
  • 72% of those who have organised a funeral in the last three years say they did not feel pressurised at all by a funeral director when deciding what to include.
  • 97% said they were satisfied with the service they received from their funeral director, with 83% saying they were good value for money
  • 75% said they wouldn’t always want the cheapest option when planning a funeral


*Results from two separate surveys. Total sample size for the first survey was 1,014 adults who had organised a funeral in the last 5 years. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd – 26th July 2018. The survey was carried out online.

The total sample size for the second survey was 2041 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th – 28th June 2018.  The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The survey was carried out online.

 The survey was carried out online.