You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Publication

Funeral Costs Plan

Published: 8 Aug 2017
Part of:
Communities and third sector, Equality and rights

Action plan to tackle funeral poverty and make more affordable funeral options available.

21 page PDF


21 page PDF


Funeral Costs Plan

21 page PDF



What is funeral poverty?

Funeral costs have risen significantly over the last 10 years. This means that individuals and families are more likely to experience a financial shock as a result of having to pay for a funeral, especially where the person who has died has made little or no provision for the cost of the funeral. This can push people into unsustainable debt which can interfere with the grieving process, and have an impact on mental and physical health.

This Funeral Costs Plan sets out 10 actions that the Scottish Government will take across a broad range of areas to tackle funeral poverty and make more affordable funeral options available.

  • £1,363 2016 average Scottish Local Authority burial charge [2]
  • £669 2016 average Scottish Local Authority cremation charge [3]
  • The average funeral director fee for a basic funeral in Scotland is around £2,000 [4]
  • The average cost of a basic funeral in Scotland in 2016 was £3,716 [5]

"We set up our funeral support project Down to Earth in 2010, and since then we have helped over 2,500 bereaved people to avoid debt and distress at a time when the average basic funeral cost in the UK has risen to £3,897. We work alongside them to plan an affordable and meaningful funeral, and ensure they can mitigate debt by accessing any state or charitable grants available. As funeral costs continue to rise, we've found it harder and harder to access adequate financial support, with many low-income families now facing inevitable debt. Demand for our support has almost trebled over the past three years."

Quaker Social Action

  • Funeral costs in Scotland have increased by 91% since 2004 [6]
  • 15 non Local Authority crematoria operate in Scotland
  • 14% expected increase in the number of deaths in Scotland over the next 20 years [7]
  • The average debt being taken on to cover funeral costs is £1,601 [8]
  • £147 million total funeral debt across the UK [9]