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Cost of funeral in South East almost £9,000

Funeral costs have reached a record high as mourning family members are forced to find more money than ever for burials and cremations.

Grieving families have seen the price of a perfect send-off almost double over the past 12 years, according to an industry survey.

The cost of dying report, carried out by SunLife, revealed people in the South East could be expected to part with almost £9,000 in all.

A coffin with flowers. Stock picture
A coffin with flowers. Stock picture

Darren Carpenter, of Birds Funeral Directors, revealed the British Institute of Funeral Directors has tried a number of times to persuade the government to help fund a funeral.

He said: “It is getting more and more expensive and everyone keeps slating the funeral directors, but my prices haven’t gone up for three years.

“It is the other fees. Cemetery fees go up, minister fees go up and doctors’ fees. People don’t realise how much they are going up.”

Even the cost of a basic funeral is at an all-time high average of £4,090 for the South East which covers funeral director fees, the cremation or burial, the doctor and a minister.

Floral displays, processions and further arrangements could cost upwards of another £4,000, forcing many to hold back on personalising proceedings due to the overwhelming cost.

Mr Carpenter, president of the British Institute of Funeral Directors, said: “There are two ways of dealing with it.

"We are quite regularly trying to get the government to put up the amount they pay. However, people are responsible as well.

"They can have a prepay plan or putting so much away in a bank account as you would with a pension.”

A rose on the tombstone. Stock image
A rose on the tombstone. Stock image

For 60 years of exclusive rights to a standard grave and burial, a family in Maidstone would have to pay £1,560 and £545 for a funeral fee.

In Tonbridge and Malling it costs £950 for the same rights and £625 for a burial.

For 35 years in Tunbridge Wells it costs £900 with a burial cost of £600.

For a 75-year period in Sevenoaks it would cost £635 and a charge of £445 for interment.

The cost of the cremation process is cheaper, with families expected to pay up to £750 and £220 funeral fees in Maidstone.

Meanwhile, in the County Town parents must pay a funeral fee of £260 for children aged five to 15 for their burial.

The cost of cremating a child up to the age of 15 is £225.

Burying a child aged two to 12 in Tonbridge and Malling costs up to £337 while fees for a child over 12 years are up to £1,575.

The cost of cremating a child in Tunbridge Wells is free but burials are up to £400.

Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant
Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, is calling for a child funeral fund in the next budget to help cover some of the cost of saying goodbye to a son or daughter.

The current gGovernment support network, the Social Fund Funeral Payment, is inaccessible to many and covers only 40% of the costs, even for those who qualify.

Both Maidstone Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council offer reduced- price burials for under- 16s but this still leaves great expense to be paid by parents.

Mrs Grant said: “Burying a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. To be forced into hardship as a result of giving your child a dignified burial or cremation is devastating for families.

“I am very concerned about the impact that rising funeral prices could have on vulnerable grieving families in my constituency and it is therefore right that we try to protect them.”

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