Leading bereavement expert says MPs’ Report On The State of Funeral Provision Is inaccurate. As British Funeral Culture Is Changing Rapidly. We at the Prepaid Funeral Review feel that there is some truth in that. However, in the vast majority of cases, there will be significant emotional problems for at least some of those left behind. But that is just our view. We have no problem organising great value low cost cremation plans for people who really understand them. Our concern is over the meaning of the word “direct” and the lack of understanding.
Direct Cremation and Low cost cremation: the answer to funeral poverty?
Following the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee’s damning report into the state of funeral provision for the poorer elements of society, a leading UK funeral expert believes the solutions to the problems already exist.
Maybe there is already a solution. Simple out of normal hours cremation, and direct cremation plans where the deceased is cremated at a low cost crematorium. That crematorium may be hundreds of miles away. Most do not allow the family to attend even if they could. There is a market for that, and some high profile celebrities like David Bowie have drawn greater attention to this as an option.
The Select Committee findings criticised the “opaque and outdated” state support arrangements for those unable to afford the cost of a funeral. Also the rigid definitions around whom the Government deems to have been “close” to the deceased. And fair game to be lumbered with the cost. Howard Hodgson, an innovative funeral director, agrees, pointing out that the provisions have not been reviewed for 13 years. However, he goes on to criticise its’ dated assessment of the market. He says that there is no need for the intervention of the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority.
Low cost cremation plans – why are they now acceptable to some?
Hodgson says the report fails to recognise that the market has changed dramatically to meet increased demand for low cost direct cremation. Hodgson says there are two main drivers for this change:
- Financial considerations: fewer people are willing or able to afford funeral from normal cash reserves. Funeral poverty affects a significant proportion of the population. Unless, of course, they have taken our advice and invested in a prepaid funeral plan!
- Less religious concerns for many of the population.
Reacting to the Select Committee’s report, Howard Hodgson said;
“At Memoria it has become evident to us that there is an increasing desire by a growing section of the general public for a low cost direct cremation service. We do not believe that this will totally replace the traditional funeral but we do have significant evidence that it is increasing its market share at an impressive rate, signifying a distinct cultural change in the way people are approaching funerals.
Therefore, we believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70%. This must be good news for both the less well off and the public purse.
Just to ignore this trend is not in the interest of either the funeral industry or the Government. Indeed, no costly Government intervention is necessary because the market has found a solution to the problem as it usually does in a free enterprise economy.
We are now seeing a groundbreaking change as the baby boomers start to end their days. This generation changed the fashion of life and now it is changing the fashion of death. This is good news for families who want to select low cost direct cremation and yet does not impact at all on those who don’t.”
Low Cost Cremation – Good, Bad, Indifferent?
Stephen Pett of the Prepaid Funeral Review said “Any financial preparation for a funeral has to be good for those left behind. Direct Cremation Plans are increasingly an acceptable form of planning, but only in the right family context. Why not contact us for advice?”