Scotland

Families struggling to pay soaring funeral costs

generic pic of a funeral
Image caption The cost of funerals varies hugely in different parts of Scotland

Bereaved Scots are finding it harder to pay the growing costs of burying their loves ones, according to Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

The average cost of a simple funeral in Scotland today is £3,240 - an increase of 7% year-on-year since 2004.

The rise comes against a backdrop of falling household incomes and a cut in emergency assistance for funerals.

A CAS report also reveals a "postcode lottery", with families in some areas having to pay 300% more than others.

The average cost of a burial alone is £1,181.77.

That jumps to £2,716.50 in the most expensive area of East Dunbartonshire, while the cheapest is £680 in the Western Isles.

The most expensive cremation is £730 in Perth and Kinross, compared with £485 in the Highlands.

Awful situation

CAS spokeswoman Susan McPhee said: "People who have never organised a funeral are often shocked at how expensive it is.

"There are charges for the grave site as well as fees to the undertakers, the cost of the coffin etc.

"Bereavement is a difficult time for any family, and most people don't like to talk about the cost of interring their loved one.

"But we have seen a growing number of Scots (a 27% increase in the past year) come to Citizens' Advice because they simply can't afford to pay for a burial or cremation."

She added: "These people are of course in real distress at having to face this awful situation.

"Our report reveals a real unfairness, which we think has to be addressed."

The Church of Scotland welcomed the report.

Church and Society Council convener the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton said: "Governments at all levels cannot ignore what this means for many people at a vulnerable time in their lives."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites