Funeral cost rises: South Tyneside families struggling with cost of death

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Bereaved families in South Tyneside are having to pay thousands for the funerals of loved ones – and prices are continuing to rise.

Statistics from the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index survey have shown that in South Shields a burial costs £4,147 and a cremation £3,335.

MP Emma Lewell-Buck outside Ede House looks back on her first experiances of Parliment

MP Emma Lewell-Buck outside Ede House looks back on her first experiances of Parliment

This year prices have risen by 3.9% – higher than the 1% inflation rate.

Nationally, the average price of a funeral is now £3,702 – up £140 in 2014.

In Sunderland a burial costs £3,892 and a cremation costs £3,255.

In Hartlepool a burial will set a family back £3,490 while those opting for a cremation will be forced to pay £3,299.

Figures show the most expensive areas for a burial are Durham North, Durham Central and Bishop Auckland.

Nationally London was the most expensive with a burial costing £4,234 and a cremation costing £4,402.

A large proportion for costs come from the funeral directors who are faced with rising prices for services causing them to up their fees, but other costs come from the councils themselves for grave plots.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck: said: “It’s worrying to see that funeral costs are continuing to rise, and that families on modest incomes are finding it increasingly unaffordable to give a decent send-off to their loved ones.

“This isn’t a problem that is going to go away on its own. We need to have a national conversation about how we address the rising cost of funeral services, and how we say goodbye to those who are close to us. The Government needs to start acting on this issue before it is too late.”

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “We appreciate that the loss of a loved one is an extremely difficult time for families and the cost of arranging a funeral can make it even more distressing.

“We regularly review the level of our cemetery and crematorium fees and charges which cover the operational cost of the Bereavement Service.

“These costs are benchmarked with neighbouring authorities and ensure that Bereavement Service continues to maintain high standards.

“We have also invested heavily in new technology at our Crematorium with further improvements planned over the next 18 months to deliver even better facilities to bereaved families.

“The local authority cost for carrying out a burial or cremation forms part of the overall funeral director’s bill, which often includes fees for things like doctor’s certificates, ministers and flowers.”