According to a recent report, many families are now struggling to cope with the cost of funerals for loved ones. The issue has been highlighted amid the pandemic when many people are unfortunately losing their lives to COVID-19.
Excess deaths at highest in seven decades
The Office for National Statistics has recently revealed that the UK has experienced the largest increase in excess deaths since World War II. More than 696,000 deaths were registered last year in Britain, while for the previous four years the annual death figure averaged around 606,000.
In addition to a sharp increase in the death rate, many people have experienced financial devastation due to job losses, ill health, or being furloughed on partial pay. The soaring cost of funerals in some parts of the UK has put further pressure on many families and older people planning their funerals at an already difficult time.
Huge differences in the cost of funerals
The data shows that the average cost of funerals in the UK has only increased slightly overall. However, there are significant differences in costs based on location, and this is causing huge issues for families in some parts of Britain.
Figures from SunLife's 'Cost of Dying' report suggest that costs could vary by more than £2,000 between different parts of the UK.
Following the report's release, SunLife Director, Justin Cole, said many families had lost loved ones earlier than expected. He added many of these families had already been experiencing financial issues due to the pandemic, and the rising cost of funerals had made a bad situation even worse.
Some of the variations in costs
The report also highlighted some of the sharp variations in costs between different parts of the UK. Figures indicate that funeral costs had rocketed by close to 10% in just one year in the South East, rising to an average of £5,007. The highest prices are in London, where the average cost of a funeral has hit £5,235.
Increases were also seen in areas including Scotland (5.7%), the North West (5.2%), and the Midlands (3.9%). However, in Northern Ireland, the average cost of a funeral actually fell by 7.4% to just over £3,200.