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Local Authorities Count the Cost of Public Health Funerals

November 30, 2015
Environmental Health

There has been a sharp rise in the number of public health funerals according to information obtained by the BBC. The cost to local authorities has also gone up by 28% over the past four years to £1.7 million. The BBC issued a freedom of information request which got replies from 300 of 409 councils responsible for what were previously called paupers funerals.

The results showed that in 2013/14, there were 2,580 public health funerals; an increase of 11% on the previous year. The largest number of public health funerals in the UK were held in the north-west of England, while the biggest increase occurred in the south east where numbers were up by 24%. Differing costs associated with each region saw the south west see the largest increase in expenditure to local authority budgets.

Mark Woolard from the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, told the BBC; “I think there’s been an increase in public health funerals because people don’t have as much disposable income, and also, people are living longer and alone. A lot of the cost is due to third-party costs such as crematorium fees, cemetery fees, and the minster’s fees which have gone up much more than the funeral directors’ costs.”

RIAMS subscribers can view the procedure note on Public Health Act Funerals HERE