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Church of Scotland raises concern as average funeral costs hit record highs

by Marcus Jones

The Church of Scotland is calling for more action to cut the costs of funerals.

It's been speaking to Premier as new research shows the average cost of a basic send off is £4,417, up 3.4% on a year ago.

By the time you take into account extra costs like flowers and wakes, according to SunLife the cost of dying stands at £9,493.

The Church of Scotland has been campaigning to bring down costs for a number of years.

Spokesman Rev Bryan Kerr says pressure to provide a big event for a funeral is pushing many into debt.

"I think there's a huge pressure on people wanting to get things right for their loved one," he said. "However, for those who feel that getting things right for their loved one is a very elaborate funeral where they will be paying for for years to come - I would like to ask them to think as to whether that's what their loved one would want. 

"I think there's a huge societal pressure on people - if in one area, if one person has a horse drawn carriage, then you can find that suddenly the instances of horse drawn carriages goes up."

He also called for local authorities to rethink their pricing.

"Costs are increasing year on year, some by staggering amounts for what can be seen fairly spurious reasons for example, they have to cut the grass on burial grounds for 100 years. Now, if you work out the cost of the land and cutting grass for 100 years, it's quite an hourly rate," he said.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently working on an inquiry into the funeral the sector. There is concern that some funeral directors are taking advantage of grieving families who are unable to shop around.

Listen to Bryan Kerr speaking with Premier's Heather Preston:


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