Dead being buried in back gardens, South Shields MP tells Commons

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck one year on
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck one year on

FUNERALS are becoming so expensive people are burying their dead in the back garden says a South Shields MP.

Labour’s Emma Lewell-Buck claims people are holding “do it yourself” funerals with rising costs putting even a basic service out of many families’ reach.

She made the announcement at the House of Commons this afternoon as she proposed a bill calling for a review of funeral costs and for providers to offer an affordable, simple service.

Mrs Lewell-Buck told MPs: “People are also turning to alternatives to the traditional funeral. Some are holding do-it-yourself funerals, and even having to bury relatives in their back garden. A number of companies are offering cut-price funerals, including “direct” cremations that have no formal service attached to them.

“Increasingly, bereaved individuals who simply cannot afford a formal service are faced with having to opt for a public health funeral, or what used to be referred to as a pauper’s funeral.”

Research published by Royal London shows that one in five households struggle to afford the cost of a basic funeral. In order to make up the shortfall many take on credit card debt, sell possessions or even turn to payday lenders. The report also shows that funeral costs are rising, with the average service now costing £3,551.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “Funeral poverty is on the rise in Britain, as costs go up while household budgets continue to be stretched. The last thing a bereaved person needs is money worries, but increasingly people are getting in to debt to afford a decent send-off for those they care about.

“People understandably don’t like to talk about these issues, and struggling to pay for a funeral can be an isolating and upsetting experience. That’s why politicians need to speak up about this issue, and why I hope MPs will support my call for a funeral poverty bill.”