The return of the pauper’s funeral to austerity Britain
In austerity Britain life for many is a struggle – and now, so is death: a combination of dwindling state support and soaring funeral costs is leaving hard-pressed families dependent on the council to bury their loved ones …. more at The Guardian
Paupers’ funerals making comeback as families exploit loophole to save funeral costs
Families turning to state claiming they cannot afford to pay towards burying loved-ones before splashing out on flowers and memorial trinkets, study finds. In Dickens’s England they were seen as the ultimate indignity reserved only for those suffering extreme destitution. More in The Telegraph.
Pauper’s funeral for 18-year-old among 500 in Wales
More than 500 people have had pauper’s funerals in Wales in the last five years, costing more than £500,000.
An 18-year-old was among those who had a funeral funded by a local authority, BBC Wales has learned. More on the BBC.
What is the background?
The funerals, formally known as Public Health Funerals, are officially the final recourse for a local authority that must safely and with dignity ‘dispose’ of a human body. They are, traditionally speaking, intended for the deceased who had no family, friends or estate that could financially provide for the funeral.
The funerals are a balance between being cost-effective and dignified. Bodies are either cremated or buried in unmarked (but recorded) plots. There is no hearse or procession, simply an appropriately adapted van. Ceremonies are minimal, and many bodies will be buried at the same time. More at On Religion.
Lots of people are!
Paupers Funeral Double in 5 Years
The number of people given a “pauper’s funeral” has doubled in the South West over the past five years.
431 families turned to the state to pay towards burying loved ones in 2013 in the six counties of the region, compared to 213 in 2009.
The figures are based on responses to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from 28 of 37 South West councils.
The basic funerals, officially known as “public health funerals” and paid for by local councils, take place when the deceased has left insufficient funds to pay, and their families are unable or unwilling to meet the cost.
The South West recorded the biggest surge over the five-year period of nine English regions, underlining why despite the popular view that the region is wealthy it boasts some of the deepest pockets of poverty in the country. More on the Plymouth Herald.