Debt relating to funeral costs has never been higher across the UK as a whole and the issue is now a significant cause of financial problems for many thousands of individuals and families.
A total of close to £160 million is collectively owed as debt relating to funeral costs around the country, according to the insurance firm Royal London and its 2017 Funeral Costs Index.
The insurance company reports that there was a 3 per cent increase in the typical cost of a funeral between 2016 and 2017, which has contributed to a situation whereby roughly one in six people now find funeral expenses difficult to pay.
The average amount of debt taken on by someone paying for a funeral but struggling to do so was £1,680 during the past year, Royal London’s research suggests.
Of those struggling to cover funeral costs, 26 per cent said they borrowed money from friends or family, while a further 23 per cent said they either took on a loan or used an overdraft facility to pay the funeral bills they found themselves needing to pay.
Many people in Scotland are among those to have headed into debt to cover funeral expenditure but they have been able to benefit to some extent from action taken by the national government in Holyrood.
Unlike in Wales, England or Northern Ireland, bereaved people in Scotland are not obliged to pay fees charged by doctors for death certification.
The Scottish government is also investigating ways to resolve some of the underlying problems that lead to “funeral poverty” and is consulting on ways to restrain inflation of funeral costs.
“With thousands of bereaved people struggling to pay funeral costs and taking on nearly £1,700 in debt to ensure their loved one has a decent send-off, it is clear that government action to tackle funeral poverty is long overdue,” said Louise Eaton-Terry from Royal London.
“The Scottish Government is leading the way with its commitment to providing help and guidance on funeral costs for consumers. We want Westminster to follow Scotland’s lead and do more to address the issue of rising funeral debt,” she added.
If you are struggling with any form of debt and you live in Scotland then there are ways you can work towards becoming debt free and Scotland Debt Solutions can help. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.
A long-term personal debt crisis is an inevitable consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic unless urgent action is taken to support people in financial trouble.
Food banks across the UK are expecting to see a significant rise in demand this winter as compared with the same period of last year.
Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.