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Public Health Funerals: Fees and Charges

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 178628, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will take steps to help reduce the level of local authority burial fees; and what support the Government provides to people who cannot meet the cost of burials.

Answered on

20 April 2021

Local authorities are responsible for their own budgets and making decisions on local spending in line with local priorities. This is entirely appropriate, given that central government cannot predict exactly what the cost of a local service will be. In line with this principle, public burial authorities have the power to set their charges at levels they consider to be appropriate.

The Funeral Expenses Payments scheme provides a significant contribution towards the cost of a simple, respectful funeral arranged by recipients of certain income based benefits or tax credits. The scheme pays necessary burial and cremation costs in full, as defined by legislation, plus up to £1000 for other expenses such as the cost of a coffin, church and funeral director fees, Scotland has a similar scheme, the Funeral Support Payment scheme. Support for funeral costs for all young people under 18 is provided by the Children’s Funeral Fund for England, with similar schemes in Scotland and Wales. Interest-free Social Fund Budgeting Loans and Universal Credit Budgeting Advances can also be used for funeral expenses. Further financial support is available through Bereavement Support Payments which help working age people whose spouse or civil partner dies.