Tayside and Central Scotland

Dundee families accumulate £500,000 funeral debt

Funeral Image copyright Getty Images

Poorer families in Dundee have amassed debts of more than £500,000 paying for funerals, a new study has found.

The report, commissioned by Dundee City Council and the Scottish government, found that some next of kin went without basic essentials to pay costs.

It also said those who had been bereaved would pay a significant amount for funerals regardless of income.

The report was tasked with looking into the effectiveness of a project to help those struggling with funeral costs.

Funeral Link offers services to help next of kin plan and pay for funerals and negotiate with funeral directors.

Image caption Report co-author Carlo Morelli said Funeral Link was a "highly-effective" service

The report, carried out by Dundee University, quoted from a 2018 survey by insurance company Royal London, which found there were 307 people in Dundee struggling to pay funeral costs.

That number accounted for 12% of the overall total of funerals held.

The report said that people struggling with funeral debt owed an average of £1,744, but said this figure could actually be higher.

It called on both the Scottish and UK governments to put regulations in place to stem the rise of funeral costs.

The report's co-author, Dr Carlo Morelli, said Funeral Link, which was introduced this year, had provided a "widely-recognised and valuable" service that was "highly effective."

He added: "However, while there is some evidence of smaller funeral directors working with families to lessen funeral debt, the largest firms in the funeral sector have been successful in increasing costs at the expense of the hardship being caused to families involved."

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