Dignity's £58.3m deal could raise North's 'cost of dying'

Britain's only listed undertaker, Dignity, has spent £58.3m buying a chain of rival funeral homes based in the north of England, which could raise the cost of dying for people in the region.

It has bought Yew Holdings, which arranges more than 6,000 funerals each year at its 40 sites and two crematoria, and which charged an average of £1,565 for each funeral in the year to last July – much cheaper than Dignity's average of £2,350 during the year to December 2011.

The undertaker said: "The board believes that there is an opportunity to improve Yew's services and facilities and thus bring its average income per funeral closer to Dignity's."

The deal means that Dignity now owns about 640 funeral sites and 37 crematoria.