Paupers’ Funerals Cost UK Councils Nearly £5.4m Last Year

Public health funerals? Local authorities are required by law to arrange a public health funeral when no suitable arrangements have been made for a deceased person in their area. The services, known as a “pauper’s funeral”, typically include a coffin and the services of a funeral director. Family and friends should be allowed to attend but the “no frills” service does not include flowers or transport for family, and some councils don’t allow attendees and burials take place in an unmarked shared grave.

Councils across the UK spent nearly £5.4m on “paupers’ funerals” last year, it has been revealed. A Freedom of Information request, by insurance company Royal London, found 275 local authorities spent £5,382,379 on public health funerals in the 12 months up to April 2018. More than 3,800 of the funerals, for people who have died alone, in poverty or without relatives, were held. The Local Government Association said the funerals were stretching budgets.

Birmingham’s local authority spent the most, with public health funerals costing the city council £990,437.The city paid for 395 funerals in 2017-18 – about one council-funded funeral for every 22 deaths, which was the third highest rate in the UK. A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman said: “As the largest local authority in the UK, Birmingham’s spend on public health funerals will inevitably be higher when compared to other cities, reflecting the population it serves.”

Source: BBC News,

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