Funeral poverty | Cruse Bereavement Care

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Cruse is a member of the Funeral Poverty Alliance, a network of over 50 organisations working against funeral poverty.

Quaker Social Action's report Speaking truth to power: a decade of groundbreaking work on funeral poverty, launched at an event at Friends House in London on 18 November 2019. The report assesses progress made to date in the fight against funeral poverty, and sets out a bold vision for continuing to tackle this issue. 

The issue

In 2014 the cost of dying rose seven times faster than the cost of living. The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK in 2014 was £3,702 an increase of 3.9% on the previous year. The price of funerals has risen above inflation for the past 35 years. Alongside this, financial support from the state has been eroded. In 2014-15 only 63% of those applying for a funeral payment were successful. The average award made was only 37% of the price of a basic funeral. This means more and more people are finding they cannot afford a funeral when someone dies and are being forced into debt. Cruse wants all bereaved people to be able to access a dignified funeral for someone close.

In June 2018 the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) market announced an inquiry examining whether the information provided by funeral directors on prices and services is clear enough for people to be able to choose the best option for them. It will also look at how prices have changed over time and the factors that affect them. Find out more.

The Treasury has also been examining evidence on the current funeral plan market, potential customer detriment in the sector and ways to improve how this sector is regulated. We are concerned that relatives of those who have bought these plans are sometimes hit with extra unforeseen costs when they come to arrange the funeral. Findings will be published soon. Find out more about the consultation.

Cruse is calling for:

  • Reforms to the Social Fund including broadening eligibility, simplification of processes & a level of funding that provides more than a contribution towards costs
  • Access to advice, information and support for bereaved people when they are faced with the challenges of paying for a funeral
  • Transparent, accessible information from all providers
  • All Funeral directors to make visible a simple funeral service


What you can do

Share your experience with Cruse, or speak to the media. Email Find out more about the Funeral Poverty Alliance, and sign up as a supporter or to receive updates.