Scots burial and cremation costs hit new high

Funeral Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The report found that the cost of burial plots and cremations varied widely across the country

The cost of burying a loved one has risen by 8% in the past year, while the cost of a cremation went up by 11%.

Citizens Advice Scotland said the average cost of a basic burial in Scotland, excluding undertakers fees, was now £1,373.

A local authority cremation costs on average £670, the organisation said.

The most expensive council area for a basic burial was Edinburgh at £2,253, while the least expensive was the Western Isles at £701.

East Dunbartonshire had the second highest burial fees at £2,088, while in neighbouring West Dunbartonshire it was £1,364.

The cost of cremations also rose significantly, with Highland Council increasing its fees by 59% in just 12 months, becoming the most expensive in Scotland at £849.

The CAS, which compiled he figures, described the situation as a "postcode lottery" and said burial fees had risen in all but three of Scotland's local authorities over the past year, while in some areas only private cremations were offered.

Spokesman Fraser Sutherland said: "Since 2012, we have seen an 83% rise in people coming to a CAB because they're struggling with funeral costs.

"Burial and cremation charges are a major problem and need to be addressed urgently."

Social security powers

The figures come as the Scottish government announced a national conference on funeral poverty, to be held on 16 November.

The first of three round-table discussions involving funeral directors, councils and charities is also due to get under way on Thursday as part of the government's consultation on the issue.

The discussions, which were recommended by a report on funeral poverty, are expected to focus on how best to get people to plan ahead for their funeral and understand the choices available to them.

Funeral payments, which are part of the regulated social fund, are among the social security powers being devolved to Scotland.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The government wants people to plan ahead for their funeral and understand the choices available to them

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance, said:

"For families who are mourning the loss of a loved one to be faced with mounting debt and distress because of the cost of paying for a funeral is completely unacceptable and I'm determined to address it."

Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman said the Scottish government's new powers gave it the opportunity to set up a fairer and more "streamlined" benefit for those struggling to meet the cost of saying goodbye to a loved one.

She added: "We have already committed to processing applications within 10 working days, allowing people to make better informed decisions when they are planning a funeral and relieving the stress and anxiety current long delays can cause.

"This will also create more certainty for funeral directors, allowing them to give appropriate advice and potentially eliminating the need to take a deposit from those who make a successful application."

Costs across local authorities
LOCAL AUTHORITY Total burial 2016 Cremation 2016 Private crematorium
1. City of Edinburgh £2,253.00 £708.00 -
2. East Dunbartonshire £2,088.75 - -
3. City of Glasgow £2,040.00 £599.00 -
4. South Lanarkshire £1,944.70 £599.40 -
5. Stirling £1,815.00 - -
6. Perth and Kinross £1,746.00 £749.00 -
7. North Lanarkshire £1,727.00 - £736.00 Holytown
8. Scottish Borders £1,670.08 - £770.00 Melrose
9. Angus £1,498.90 - £930.00 Parkgrove
10. Moray £1,441.00 - £934.00
11. Aberdeenshire £1,430.00 - -
12. South Ayrshire £1,430.00 £788.00 -
13. Clackmannanshire £1,429.00 - -
14. City of Aberdeen £1,427.00 £693.00 -
15. Argyll and Bute £1,383.00 £628.00 -
16. Highland £1,380.00 £849.00 -
SCOTTISH AVERAGE £1,373.31 £669.37 £773.55
17. West Dunbartonshire £1,364.00 £617.00 -
18. Dumfries and Galloway £1,310.00 - £745.00 Dumfries
19. East Lothian £1,289.00 - -
20. Fife £1,184.00 £642.00 -
21. City of Dundee £1,175.00 - £934.00
22. Midlothian £1,141.00 - -
23. North Ayrshire £1,140.00 - -
24. Inverclyde £1,093.80 £552.00 -
25. Orkney £1,079.00 - -
26. West Lothian £1,037.90 - £770.00
27. Falkirk £979.00 £608.00 -
28. East Ayrshire £967.50 - -
29. East Renfrewshire £965.00 - £890.00
30. Renfrewshire £916.20 - £570.00 Paisley
31. Shetland £900.00 - £858.00
32. Western Isles £701.00 - -
Figures from Citizens Advice Scotland

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