These are the cheapest and most expensive places in the North East for a funeral
The cheapest and dearest places in the North East to say goodbye to a loved one have been revealed in a new survey on the cost of burials and cremations.
The average cost of a funeral in North East England is now £3,623, making it one of the most expensive places in England.
The research by Royal London says families in the region are having to shell out an average of £4,023 for a burial, and £3,224 for a cremation.
There can be differences of hundreds of pounds in the cost, even for places just a few miles apart.
Bishop Auckland in County Durham is the most expensive place to die, with a basic funeral costing £4,287, and a cremation £3,321.
Durham ties for the most expensive place for a burial, at £4,287, though its cremations are the cheapest, at £3,151.
Tynemouth in North Tyneside is the least expensive overall, coming in at an average of £3,511.
It is the fifth year the life insurance company has carried out the survey, and it found that an increasing number of families are having to go into debt to pay for a loved one's funeral.
The average cost of a UK funeral has risen by 6%, from £3,551 in 2014 to £3,757 in 2018.
Individual funeral debt has increased at a much higher rate - 34% - with people now taking on an average debt of £1,744, compared to £1,305 in 2014.
Related: Cost of dying rise sparks poverty fearOne in 10 took on debt to pay for a loved one’s funeral, with the average amount taken on by individuals rising to an all-time high.
Of those who struggled with funeral costs, 28% borrowed money from friends and family and 21% took on debt.
Sadly, one in 10 continue to sell possessions to give loved ones a decent send-off.
Families struggling with funeral costs could be entitled to help from the Government to pay for 'necessary costs', but the research found that the support offered is inadequate.
Funeral director’s fees, a coffin, hearse and collection and care of the deceased are not seen as 'necessary costs' by the Government, and only up to £700 is offered to help bereaved families cover costs.
Royal London’s funeral cost expert Louise Eaton-Terry said: “High funeral costs have left many families taking on a mountain of debt, with our research showing a huge increase in the amount being borrowed by the bereaved over the last five years.
"More support needs to be offered to families struggling to pay for funeral costs, and as a result being forced into debt.
“The funeral payment is seriously lacking, and it’s shocking that the government do not consider funeral director’s fees and a coffin to be a 'necessary' cost.
"We want the social fund to cover the cost of a basic funeral, as no one should have to struggle to give their loved ones a decent send-off.”
The 2018 Royal London National Funeral Cost Index reveals the average cost of a funeral UK-wide is £3,757, with costs having stabilised this year (£3,784 in 2017).
London has consistently been the most expensive region for a funeral. Northern Ireland remains the least expensive, with a funeral in Belfast costing an average of £2,950.