The Cost of Funerals

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The Cost of Funerals

The average cost of funerals in the UK has slowly risen over the years. In this post, we look at the average cost of funerals.

When it comes to arranging a funeral, it’s never easy. At a time when you’re grieving and hurting, adding funeral planning on top of that can put a real strain on you. More importantly, figuring out how much it will cost is also an unnecessary worry added on top of a distressing time. Funerals in the UK have slowly gone up, costing more and more over the years. But, how much does the average funeral cost?

We’ve spoken to S. Stibbards & Sons, funeral directors in Rayleigh serving Essex, about the average cost of funerals. In this post, you’ll find out the rise in funeral costs, what you’ll need to plan for and find out if you may qualify for financial support. Find out all about the cost of funerals, in this post.

The Infographic provided by includes data from a Royal London Study. The data in the map consists of the average cost of a funeral based from calculations of the average cost for a basic burial and the average cost for a basic cremation across various districts within the locations pinpointed on the map.

Over the years

It seems like everything has gone up in price over the years, but it’s become more apparent with funeral costs. Calculating the average funeral costs over the years, there’s been a significant increase in funeral costs since 2004. According to a document released by Sun Life, basic funeral costs have risen significantly.

In 2004, the cost of a basic funeral was around £1,920. In 2017, this amount would afford you almost half of your funeral costs. Sun Life found that in 2017, the average funeral costed around £4,078. Bear in mind, these costs cover basic funeral plans and not the total ‘cost of dying’ – but, we’ll arrive at this shortly.

Over the past decade, Sun Life found that funeral costs have risen by over 70%. This huge increase is only predicted to rise further, as the cost of funerals is predicted to continue to rise over the years. Predicted by 2022, the average funeral may cost just under £5000 – for a basic plan.

Whilst we’ve outlined funeral costs above, there’s more that goes into a ceremony than paying a funeral director to handle the burial. It’s estimated that the average ‘cost of dying’ totals around £8,905. This included the £4,078 funeral costs, as well as legal fees (£2,899) plus the costs of funeral flowers, transport, wake costs etc. (£1,928) – it all adds up to almost £9,000.

Funeral services, excluding the basic funeral costs, include:

  • The Memorial
  • Catering
  • Transport Hire
  • Flowers
  • Venue Hire
  • Death and Funeral Notice
  • Order of Service print outs

Totalling the £1,928 mentioned above.

Why the rising costs?

Whilst many factors contribute to rising costs, Sun Life have surmised that it’s partly attributed to the following. Local authorities having their budgets cut mean that crematoria costs have risen in order to increase their income, and there are reduced subsidies for burials. When you include that local authority, crematorium and grave digging staff need their wages increased to match rising wages in the UK, it means that funeral costs have risen. All of this plus funeral director fees increasing, as well as lack of space for new graves in cemeteries, the increase in basic funeral costs is clear.

Financial Assistance

If these large costs are alarming you, and you’re wondering how you’d even come up with the cash, there are a few different means of financing funerals (should you qualify). The three we’re going to talk about in this post are:

  1. Social Fund Funeral Payment
  2. Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  3. Bereavement Allowance

All provide different levels of funding and have different criteria in order for you to qualify for them. We’ll detail the criteria of each, below.

Social Fund Funeral Payment

The first, Social Fund, is for those that are on low income, in need for funeral funding. This is offered by the Government, as a means for those who are unable to cover funeral costs to pay. However, in some cases this is considered a ‘loan’, as the funds from the deceased estate, once settled, are paid back to the social fund. If the funds do not match the required amount, the funds are not expected to be repaid. In order to qualify for social fund, you will need to be receiving benefits or tax credits from the government. You qualify if you receive universal, pension, working or child tax credits.

Also, if you’re receiving housing benefits, income support, income-based job seekers allowance or any income related employment and support allowance, you qualify for social funding. There are also relationship criteria to meet, as the person/persons applying for social funding must meet the requirements regarding their relation to the deceased. Either being a close friend or relative, a parent or person responsible for a child under the age of 16, or under 20 if still in approved education or training, and the parent of a still born after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In order to see if you qualify, contact the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0345 606 0265.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance

For those that have been widowed, and are parents, there is funding available to help with funeral and living costs. Like other funding, you’ll need to meet certain criteria, and will be unable to claim the allowance if you don’t. As for Bereavement Allowance, this is a weekly benefit which is paid for up to 52 weeks, after the death of your husband/wife or civil partner. Again, this is to support you after their passing. However, again, there is certain criteria that needs to be met. To find out if you qualify for either, speak to the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0345 606 0265.


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