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Funeral Costs Surge 71% in Britain Since 2004

Friday, 14 Sep 2012 | 3:21 AM ET

A new report finds that the cost of funerals his risen by 71 percent in the past eight years in the United Kingdom, leaving 17 percent of people struggling to afford a funeral.

The average cost of dying is 7,114 pounds ($11,453) in 2012. Costs include, among other things, fees for a religious or secular service, burial or cremation fees, death and funeral notices, flowers and estate administration costs.

“This year 17 percent of respondents struggled to meet funeral costs. If this figure is representative of the approximate 552,000 deaths in the UK every year, this would suggest over 90,000 people experience difficulties with funeral costs every year,” the Cost of Dying survey by insurer Sunlife Direct said.

The average shortfall is 1,246 pounds, the report found.

Those that make provisions for their funeral do so because it gives them peace of mind and security and eases potential concerns about being a burden or the stigma associated with having to rely on the state, according to the report.

The report raises concerns about the death rate that will inevitably rise as the population ages, and high levels of national debt and austerity measures that will inevitably constrain public spending.

“What is clear though is that the number of people that will need to plan for their funeral is set to grow, and without intervention funeral poverty is set to increase significantly,” the report said.

“As funeral costs continue to rise and incomes get squeezed, we can predict that the current struggles people can face when it comes to paying for a funeral are likely to worsen,” it added.