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Campaigners hold funeral procession in Parliament Square

Campaigners dressed as funeral directors and mourners challenged Mr. Hammond to increase the fund to cover basic funeral costs and stop desperate families getting into debt when burying their loved ones.

The Fair Funerals campaign, other charities, and the National Association of Funeral Directors have sent a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond outlining the case for a raise in line with inflation and updated annually in line with the retail price index.

Vital help with basic funeral costs was capped at £700 in 2003, far less than the cost of the most basic funeral.

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A viral campaign and petition will use the hashtag #BuryTheDebt to raise awareness.

Heather Kennedy, Fair Funerals campaigns manager says:“In the fifth richest country in the world, it’s simply not good enough that grieving families are being forced into poverty and debt trying to arrange a simple funeral after someone they love dies.

“Our government needs to take action to address this growing public concern and guarantee everyone in dignity in death. By increasing the funeral fund, many grieving families would be spared the emotional and financial burden of not being unable to afford a respectful funeral.”

Mandie Lavin, CEO of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said: “The NAFD is delighted to support this campaign by Fair Funerals.

“The funeral fund has to cover almost everything relating to the funeral including collection and care of the deceased person, the coffin, flowers, celebrant or minister’s fees, the arranging and paperwork related to the funeral service and carrying the funeral out on the day. A payment at this level is too small to be of any real assistance to the bereaved people who need it.”

 

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