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Funerals: Pre-payment

Question for Treasury

UIN 148265, tabled on 28 March 2022

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking in preparation for the upcoming Financial Conduct Authority regulations for prepaid funeral plans to help ensure that people who have purchased plans from suppliers that do not apply for, or fail to receive, FCA approval will receive an equal plan from another provider or get a refund.

Answered on

4 April 2022

Safe Hands Funeral Plans has recently gone into administration. I am aware that the current situation will be distressing for customers of Safe Hands and can assure you that the Treasury continues to monitor the implementation of regulation in this sector closely.

I welcome the commitment from Dignity to provide funerals to Safe Hands’ customers for two weeks.

It is a regrettable fact that bringing a previously unregulated sector into regulation – whatever form that may take – creates a possibility that some providers are not able to meet the threshold for authorisation.

Where a provider is unable to obtain FCA authorisation because of underlying issues, it is important to understand that this is not an issue created by bringing the sector into regulation. Rather, bringing the sector into regulation exposes these unsustainable business models and prevents these problems from getting worse and impacting more consumers.

The FCA’s guidance is clear that providers who are not seeking or not able to obtain authorisation should either transfer their existing plans to a provider which is seeking authorisation, or wind down in an orderly way before regulation starts.

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