The cost of dying in Northern Ireland has more than doubled in the last decade.
Northern Ireland funeral costs now exceed £3,000 on average, according to the Belfast Telegraph. That is a rise of 106% since 2004. Paupers’ funerals, carried out for people who die alone or without relatives able to pay, have also jumped alarmingly in recent years. Consequently families are being left struggling to cope with funeral costs.
The Telegraph article continues: “DUP MP Gavin Robinson said he knew of some families in his East Belfast constituency who are still saddled with debt nearly two years after burying loved ones.
“I know one woman whose husband died at the end of 2014, and she is still struggling to meet the costs of the funeral,” he told their reporter.
“I am also aware of funeral directors who are struggling because they are carrying a significant amount of bad debt, where families are just unable to meet the bills that they have.”
On Wednesday Mr Robinson raised his concerns during a debate at Westminster, where he called for more help for hard-pressed families.
Northern Ireland Funeral Costs – a possible solution.
We at the Prepaid Funeral Review feel we have at least a partial solution in the Family Funeral Plan, specially designed to help families with at least a little spare income between them.
SunLife’s annual Cost Of Dying Report found the average funeral price in Norther Ireland to be £3,277. The 106% rise since 2004 is one of the biggest anywhere in the UK, though they are still relatively lower than the UK average.
The Belfast Telegraph continued “Death-related expenses are increasing faster than any cost of living bills such as rent, food or utilities. London remains the most expensive place to die, with the average funeral costing £5,529 – 42% above the national average of £3,897.”
Researchers for the annual Cost of Dying Report found that a significant number of those arranging a funeral had to cut back on the arrangements for purely financial reasons. Cars for older family members, memorials and flowers all had to be left out. Payday loans or just selling belongings were other sources of finance.
“Citizens Advice Northern Ireland raised concerns about the support available for bereaved people with limited incomes. It said a Social Fund funeral payment – awarded to help meet essential costs – is inadequate. The charity noted the average award in 2014/15 was £1,048 – less than a third of the £3,277 average funeral bill.
Pol Callaghan from Citizens Advice Northern Ireland said: “The loss of a loved one is a difficult time for any family. Unfortunately, for people on a low income it also brings a heavy financial burden. This compounds the trauma of bereavement with the stress of money worries and added debt. The diminished value of the Social Fund funeral payment only covers around one third of funeral costs. This is leaving people in real hardship.”
Citizens Advice is calling for a review of the payment.
Based on an article in the Belfast Telegraph on Northern Ireland Funeral Costs,