Quaker Social Action report on Funeral Poverty

Photo by Rhodi Lopez on Unsplash

Quaker Social Action have been investigating funeral directors since 2007 and yesterday launched their report into this matter, ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ supported by a grant from Quakers & Business.

Research started in 2007, with their award winning project Down to Earth starting in 2010. Fair Funerals was launched in 2014 and ran to 2018 and to date 1,768 funeral director branches are signed up to a price transparency pledge. Down to Earth provides advocacy work and has supported over 4000 bereaved people since it started – last year over 700.

The funeral business is unregulated, and the Competition and Markets Authority are especially concerned at the lack of clear pricing statements, and comprehensive information, making it hard for vulnerable people to compare what is offered. The cost of a simple funeral is now nearly £4,000; 12% of people faced with a funeral struggle to pay for it, and they take on an average debt of nearly £2000

Four staff members provide mainly phone and on-line support. They also have helped get clear and affordable pricing of funerals, are working in partnership with politicians on a cross-party basis, other charities and Royal London Insurance to get policy change. This includes plans to regulate the funeral industry, whose charges have risen far ahead of inflation; helping to get an increase in the Funeral Expenses Payment – fixed for 15 years at £700 but rising to £1000 in March and then being tied to inflation; supporting the introduction of a Children’s Funeral Fund; and highlighting the need for standards for public health funerals.

This project has saved people an average of £1,800 against initial funeral quotations where consulted before the funeral and nearly 1,600 where the consultation has followed the funeral.

There is grant funding for the project, but a shortfall of £500 per day needs to be found.

Each year the Big Give Christmas Challenge runs from 3-10 December. Money donated on-line is doubled – and this year QSA is one of the charities to benefit from this.

Read more about it here: https://fairfuneralscampaign.org.uk/co…/what-funeral-poverty

Donations can be made to www.quakersocialaction.org.uk/biggive2019. But don’t give yet! Remember between December 3rd & 10th any donation will be matched.

You can download a copy of the report ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ from the QSA website: https://quakersocialaction.org.uk/taking-social-action/news/qsa-launches-funeral-poverty-report-london-event

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