The cost of dying

The average funeral in the UK costs around £4,800, but this varies depending on where you are in the UK. In the South West of England, you can expect to pay around £4,500, while in London, you’ll be paying closer to £6,000.

Including the funeral director and minister or celebrant, this covers all the basics required for a traditional cremation or burial. However, it doesn’t include extra costs for things like the memorial, the venue, catering, flowers, transportation to the funeral home, order sheets, and death and funeral notices. On average, these cost an additional £2,300.

Combining the costs of arranging a funeral, planning a memorial ceremony and applying for probate,  takes the average cost of dying to almost £10,000. The average funeral cost has more than doubled in the last 10 years and 1 in 8 families will go into debt in order to pay for a loved one’s funeral. If you are struggling with the cost of a loved one's funeral, go to the Government website HERE for advice about support with funeral expenses.

Following a two and a half year investigation into the funeral sector, the CMA published a set of requirements in June 2021, in the form of a legally binding Order under the Enterprise Act 2002, that ALL UK funeral businesses - however large or small - must abide by. The order came into force on 16 September 2021.

What the Competition and Markets Authority now require

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has powers to intervene in any market sector where it believes there may be a detriment to consumers, due to the way the business in that sector operate. There was particular concern about the cost of funerals because of the distressing circumstances that 'consumers' - in this case grieving families - are having to cope with whilst making potentially very costly decisions. Whilst most funeral directors offer high standards of care, the funeral industry is unregulated so prices and charging methods vary considerably, often within the same company, depending on geographic location. 

There are now a number of steps all UK funeral firms are required to take to be more transparent with grieving families.

From 00:01 on Thursday 16 September, all UK funeral firms should have been compliant with the requirements of the 2021 Funerals Market Investigation order, which required them to;

  • Have a Standardised Price List published online (within one click of their homepage);
  • Have their price list clearly and prominently on display in your window and in branch;
  • Have the required crematorium information, payment terms and disclosure information published online and in branch;
  • Have prepared a register of charitable donations (the deadline for this is 1 October 2021);
  • Have ceased all arrangements with third-party providers in the sector that could be viewed as inducements. For example, with a hospital, hospice, care home, or other similar institution which could reasonably be understood to encourage, incentivise or require the institution to refer customers to the funeral director or give that funeral director preference over other funeral directors ; and
  • If they have five or more branches, the company is required to start collating information ready for the CMA’s first reporting deadline on 1 April 2022.

The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) - the professional body for many funeral directors that trains and sets standards and operational guidelines - warmly welcomed the publication of the Funerals Market Order on 16 June 2021. Said Chief Executive Jon Levett: 

"Although many funeral firms do publish pricing information online, some don’t and there is a wide range of formats used which can be confusing for bereaved consumers at a difficult time. The CMA’s requirements, although extremely complex in places for small businesses to navigate, support the delivery of high standards to funeral consumers and bring consistency to the process of choosing a funeral director."
The CMA has said it will be watching the industry closely to ensure the situation improves and all funeral directors comply, and will be reporting again in April 2022.
If you are struggling with the cost of a loved one's funeral, go to the Government website HERE for advice about support with funeral expenses.
END