A rise in the number of people facing funeral poverty, alongside an increase in the number of paupers’ funerals, where the local authority has to foot the bill, have led to calls for the government to ‘face up to death’.
Campaigners want a revamp of what they claim is an outdated and confusing system set up to help poorer families who find themselves meeting the unexpected cost of a funeral. The cost of dying has risen by more than 70 per cent since 2004, to an average of £2,700 for a standard funeral, but the government’s funeral payment has not been altered since 2003. The average total award, for those on low incomes, is under £1,200 with almost half of the claims being rejected. This, according to the government’s own reckoning, is put down to applicants being confused about who can apply, what the payment will cover and how long it will take.
Boston Labour councillors are concerned that the Conservative government, through its austerity measures, are targeting low income families within their universal credit system and not recognising that a lot of these families are the ones who face the greatest hardship when it comes to burying their family member.
Unbelievably we have just read the 2013-14 budget proposals which shows that Boston’s Tory council intends to put another large hike on funeral costs of an additional £57 if you are a resident of Boston and £114 for non residents.
We see no need for this excessive charge.
Boston Labour councillors