Co-op Funeralcare has hit back at comments made by Lord Frank Field on last night’s (1 October) Tonight programme on ITV.
The former MP, who chaired a Parliamentary investigation into the funeral industry in 2016, alleged that funeralcare providers, including Co-op Funeralcare, were ‘‘ripping off’’ grieving families.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an inquiry into the rising costs of funeral directors, cremations and graves, and highlighted Co-op Funeralcare and Dignity Funeral Directors in its report earlier this year.
The report, which was referenced in Tonight’s investigation, said: ‘‘Price rises well in excess of general inflation were a core part of Dignity’s strategy for a considerable period of time.
‘‘Co-op took the decision to follow Dignity’s lead and increased its prices by a similar annual rate, noting that only 8% of customers shopped around.’’
A Co-op spokesperson said: ‘‘The figures used by Tonight are outdated and unverified, relating to historic funeral costs, which do not reflect the market as it stands today.
‘‘Over the last four years, we have invested significantly in lowering our prices, taking 15% off the cost of our most affordable funeral and holding prices to below inflation.’’
They added: ‘‘We have also increased choice, including offering a Direct Cremation option, and improved transparency – anyone can view our prices online or in one of our dedicated funeral care homes.
‘‘Despite the financial challenges of Covid-19, we continue to act in the best interests of bereaved families, introducing new and affordable services at a time where they’re really needed.”