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Cost of dying rising more than twice as fast as cost of living

The cost of dying is rising more than twice as fast as the cost of living, funeral services comparison site Beyond has revealed, as funeral prices surge ahead of inflation.

While the cost of living has increased by a cumulative 7.67 percent since 2015, the average price of burials has risen by 19.9 percent – almost three times as much. The national average price of a burial plot is now £1,838.

It is a similar story in the cremation market, where fees have gone up by 17.6 percent over the past three years.

With cremations now accounting for close to 80 percent of all funerals in the UK, and with close to half a million deaths each year, this is big business. The average price for a cremation is now £784, with some crematoriums charging as much as £1,070.

Funerals can now cost £5,000 or more once all additional costs such as cars, coffins and admin fees are included. Beyond’s research raises concerns that a lack of competition is driving prices higher.

Private funeral services firm Dignity run 19 of the 20 most expensive crematoriums in the country, with Beyond saying that there is a direct correlation between an absence of competition and the ability to impose higher prices on grieving relatives with no other options.

London is home to the UK’s most expensive cemeteries with land prices in the capital at a premium for both property and burials. However, it is Wales and the South West that have seen the sharpest hikes in the last 12 months, each with 12 percent increases for average burial prices in just a year.

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “The number of people dying each year is fairly predictable so it’s staggering to see the cost of dying race ahead of the cost of living by such a margin. Funeral prices in this country are not something that we particularly enjoy talking about and that means awareness of the rising costs of cremations and burials is very low, which plays into the hands of cemetery and crematorium owners.

Competition and transparency are going to be key over the next few years if the costs of cremations and burials are going to be prevented from rising unchecked.”

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