The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) has responded to Royal London’s 2018 Funeral Cost Index saying the report has shown that “independent funeral directors offer best value”.
The trade body described the report as a “commendable document” and said it shone a light on the prices bereaved people are likely to face. The figures represented in the report suggested that the funeral profession acted in the public interest with funeral directors’ costs falling overall by 4.5 percent in recent years.
On the topic of austerity, Tennens supported Royal London’s call on the government to reform the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment, saying it “added to the growing number of organisations and individuals who have highlighted the inadequacy of the benefit”.
Terry Tennens, CEO of SAIF, said: “The report is a commendable document which confirms what we at SAIF already knew: independent funeral directors offer better value than the large corporates. Whilst independent firms’ costs are said to have increased by three percent, which we put down to rising fuel and wage costs, family firms across the country are still charging on average 10 percent less than big businesses like Dignity, Co-op Funeralcare and Funeral Partners.
“We encourage people to shop around and not pay more than they need to for a funeral, particularly if it means a better, more personal service for a lower price.”
He added: “Perhaps, the most worrying finding of the index – and this is also something we’ve known for a long time – is that funeral prices are being pushed up by rises in burial and cremation costs. Local authorities hit by spending cuts are desperate to find ways to bring in revenue. Nevertheless, it’s unacceptable that bereaved people are bearing the brunt of austerity. They should not be seen as an easy source of revenue.”