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I Can't Afford to Die

Joan Bakewell explores how you can achieve a decent send-off for a friend or relative, and even yourself, if you can’t afford the soaring cost of funerals.

The average cost of a funeral has doubled in the past twelve years. As people struggle to meet the soaring cost, Joan Bakewell explores how to achieve a decent send-off for a friend or relative, and even yourself, if you don’t have the money.

Low-cost funerals are now in demand and, as Joan discovers, there are many ways of keeping the cost down. She and her panel discuss the different elements of a funeral to reveal where the money goes, and how you can make savings. Many people today are choosing to do away with the ‘frills’, such as the hearse, limousines and pall bearers, and focussing on the essentials - the coffin, cremation or burial, and the service.

While some can afford a low-cost funeral, an increasing number cannot. The state-funded public health funerals, or ‘paupers funerals’ as they were once called, are on the rise. But securing one from your local authority isn’t always easy. Joan asks why these funerals can be so hard to access, when someone is in genuine need, and where to seek help.

Producer: Beth Eastwood

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43 minutes

The Panel

Angela Abbott, Bereavement Services Manager, Milton Keynes Council

Claire Brandon, Manager, Down to Earth

Kate Woodthorpe, Sociologist, Centre for Death & Society at Bath University

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