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Why are funerals so expensive?

The shocking rise in the cost of dying and what the government is doing about it

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The cost of paying for a funeral has risen steeply in recent years. Back in 2004, the average cost of a cremation in the UK was £1,728.

Fast forward to 2018 and basic cremations cost £3,744 on average, according to figures published in SunLife’s Cost of Dying report. Burials are more expensive still, at £4,798 on average.

During that period, funeral costs went up by 6% every year – that’s twice the rate of inflation. And these are just the basic costs. Most people’s funerals end up costing even more, with extras like funeral notices, flowers and catering to pay for.

It’s these steep price rises that have prompted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to carry out a study of the funeral market.

“Although the large funeral directors’ prices are, on average, well above those of the independent funeral directors, it is clear that others in the sector have also implemented some large price rises.”

 

In its report published in March 2019, it said: “Although the large funeral directors’ prices are, on average, well above those of the independent funeral directors, it is clear that others in the sector have also implemented some large price rises.”

The CMA is now carrying out an 18-month investigation to find out if price inflation is down to a lack of competition in the market. Its final report is expected in late 2020.

Whilst funeral costs have soared over the last decade, so has demand for prepaid funeral plans. In fact, four times more funeral plans were sold in 2018 than they were in 2006.

Part of the reason for the popularity of prepaid funeral plans is that they allow you to lock in to today’s prices. Prices could continue to grow – perhaps even at the same rate – at least until the CMA takes action.

Even if the CMA decides to act, it’s likely to take a few years for new regulations to come into force. That’s why the smart move is to buy a prepaid funeral plan, to mitigate against future price increases.

So why not act today? Call Maplebrook Funeral Plans on 0800 059 0909 and we’ll find a plan to suit your budget.

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