Guest column: Spiralling costs of funerals is a major concern

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

In the past week, a constituent contacted me regarding the unaffordable costs of paying for a close relative’s funeral.

This highlighted for me the problem of funeral poverty that is a growing problem in the UK.

The average funeral now costs more than £4,000 and the cost of a funeral has risen by 112 per cent in the past 13 years.

This is extortionate and I am looking for explanations for why there has been such a huge price hike.

Sadly, people are now getting into debt to pay to a loved ones’ funeral.

We now have a situation where the most basic of funerals, known as public health funeral where all the costs are covered by the state, provides a better quality and more dignified funeral than one on the cheapest rate at £3,000 with the majority of the payment being demanded up front in advance of the funeral.

This is all because there is no regulation on the funeral industry.

The funeral business is worth £2 billion yet there are not any checks to make sure that the business is not exploiting people for their service.

The Fair Funerals campaign highlights all of these problems and is calling for a Parliamentary review of funeral services and they are proposing the establishment of a simple funeral service for those on low incomes.

I fully support this campaign.

Next month, Universal Credit will be rolled out across Bassetlaw.

I have opposed these changes it means there will be families in Bassetlaw who may go hungry at Christmas.

I have asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to visit our area to see the effects of the Universal Credit rollout.

Food banks are already struggling and expecting a higher demand for food and provisions over the Christmas period.

I understand that supplies in Harworth have virtually run empty and this is extremely worrying.

Please donate items or consider donating seasonable items to the food bank.

You can drop these off at my office on Stanley Street in Worksop if you wish.

Even though the Government has announced this week that there will be some additional support for those receiving Universal Credit, I will also be offering advice on how to manage the changes.

If you are due to be receiving Universal Credit and would like some advice, please contact my office on 01909 506200 or email me at mannj@parliament.uk

It was brilliant to see that Worksop’s Got Talent raised £7,000 for RP Fighting Blindness earlier this month.

This money will be used for research to find a cure for retinitis pigmentosa and will be greatly appreciated by the charity.

I would like to congratulate the winner, Chloe Hind, and also James Clarke for organising such a brilliant event.