Funeral prices rise to pounds 1,500

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The Independent Online
Funeral costs have soared over the last three years, with burials rising the most by 38 per cent to an average pounds 1,523, a report reveals today.

The cost of a funeral with cremation over the same period has gone up by 15 per cent to pounds 1,024. Those price jumps compare with a 7 per cent increase in inflation during that time. Burials in south-east England cost 22 per cent more than the average and half as much again as the south- west, the cheapest region.

The 1996 survey, published by the Manchester Unity Friendly Society, shows big regional variations in the cost of burials, although little difference for cremations.

"The survey suggests that increasing competition between funeral providers means many directors now quote an attractive low 'basic' cost, but then add on the disbursements and extras to bring the expected total costs up to a much higher level.

"On average, these extra costs add 101 per cent to the cost of a basic funeral (in other words double the price) and 30 per cent to the cost of a basic cremation.

"Within a locality the cost of identical funerals often varies by hundreds of pounds, so it pays to shop around," it added.

"Funeral costs continue to rise and most funeral directors now require payment well before probate. Therefore, it is important to have sufficient funds readily available."