The NAFD has welcomed the findings of the 2018 Funeral Cost Index by Royal London, which shows the proactive stance taken by funeral firms, with a 4.5% overall drop in costs – but higher local authority burial and cremation fees. The report also challenges the government to improve the outdated Social Fund funeral payment – something the NAFD has campaigned for, for more than a decade.

The report highlights how families struggling with funeral costs could be entitled to help from the Government to pay for necessary costs but the support offered is “inadequate”. It goes on to challenge why funeral director’s fees, a coffin, hearse and collection and care of the deceased are not seen as necessary costs by the Government and only up to £700 is offered to bereaved families to cover costs.

Royal London’s funeral cost expert, Louise Eaton-Terry, said:

“The funeral payment is seriously lacking, and it’s shocking that the government do not consider funeral director’s fees and a coffin to be a “necessary” cost. We want the social fund to cover the cost of a basic funeral, as no one should have to struggle to give their loved ones a decent send-off.”

Abi Pattenden, President of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said: “The findings of Royal London show that funeral directors of all shapes and sizes, across the UK, are playing their part in ensuring funerals are affordable, by either holding or reducing their prices. It also shows that funeral directors’ costs are reducing as a proportion of the overall cost of a funeral, as a result of the unchecked growth of other costs – such as local council burial and cremation fees. The funeral profession is playing its part in ensuring a meaningful funeral is accessible to everyone, we will continue to call upon other organisations providing services to bereaved people, such as local authorities, to do the same.”

Read the full report here.