The rising costs of funerals has been raised in parliament by MP Emma Lewell-Buck saying some people are holding "do it yourself" funerals with rising costs putting even a basic service out of many families' reach.
The Labour MP for South Shields said the average funeral had reached £3,551.
In my opinion one of the real issues underpinning this problem is the amount of financial support available to families through the benefits system and the complex nature in how it is calculated as well as what is charged in the industry.
At Andrew Phillips Funeral Services we try and help families where we can and already offer a simple funeral service at a fair price to help those families who have financial challenges.
A simple funeral service should include the Collection and care of the deceased as well as all the necessary arrangements, whilst still allowing families if they wish to provide their own flowers or orders of services etc.
However when it comes to "Do it yourself" funerals some families want to be able make these arrangements not through financial choice but because they want to be able to look after their loved one and lead the funeral arrangements as the last thing that they can do for the person they loved. This is very true for some religions, because everyone is different and this is sometimes something that helps them through their grief. In truth on this decision there is no right or wrong way, which is why we are able to support families who want to lead their own funeral service of facilitate them conducting a "DIY" funeral.
It is true that families should not be forced into making their own funeral arrangements purley out of financial choice and this is something that funeral directors, as members of the community, should be able to support with. However Funeral Directors are not the only ones who need to hold this responsibility as sometimes half or 1/3 of the funeral costs are for 3rd party fees such as the cost of the burial plot or cremation fees.
When it comes to claiming from the DWP for help with funeral costs the system for releasing payments to help families with the funeral payments is a complex one and often takes weeks to process the payment to the funeral director. It also can sometimes be difficult to claim and where the average payout tends to be less than the final bill.
I'm not sure what the right answer is on this topic, so as family run independent funeral directors "Andrew Phillips Funeral Services" try to help clients where they have financial challenges, but one thing is for sure families should not have to rely on pay day loans to be able to pay for the funeral.
So where is the answer?
Some believe it lies within the funeral industry itself, others in Government. In my experience both working together for the good of the client is what really matters as well as Funeral Directors offering a low cost simple funeral service to families in conjunction with good support from local authorities and other industry suppliers ensuring that they also offer low cost alternatives.
For anyone struggling or worried about the cost of a funeral please free to give me a call for advice.
Please see below BBC News article Link : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30392982