The Competition and Market Authority’s interim report has stepped up pressure on price-rises in the UK funeral market.
The report states serious concern at the significant rises in average funeral prices and provides evidence of the extreme risk of exploitation faced by many of those organising one.
This is a significant milestone in Quaker Social Action’s long history of work on funeral poverty.
For eight years, our Down to Earth project has been the UK’s only dedicated helpline for people struggling with funeral costs. Over the last four years, we ran the Fair Funerals campaign, bringing widespread attention to the issue and successfully mounting pressure on the industry and government to make changes to improve conditions for those on the lowest incomes.
Some of the key findings from the CMA report:
- People are spending between £3,000 and £5,000 when organising a funeral
- The price of the essential elements have increased at almost three times the rate of inflation in the last 10 years
- Organising a funeral would now cost those on the lowest incomes nearly 40% of their annual outgoings
- Customers could save over £1,000 by looking at a range of choices in their local area
- Some providers – the larger chains in particular – have implemented policies of consistently high year-on-year price increases
“People mourning the loss of a loved one are extremely vulnerable and at risk of being exploited.
"We need to make sure that they are protected at such an emotional time, and we’re very concerned about the substantial increases in funeral prices over the past decade.
"We now feel that the full powers of a market investigation are required to address the issues we have found. We also want to hear from people who have experienced poor practices in the sector, so that we can take any action needed to fix these problems.”
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA.