The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) has welcomed the Royal London’s 2017 National Funeral Cost Index report which highlights the crucial role funeral directors play in providing help and guidance to the bereaved.
The findings show that funeral directors have also kept their price rises to an absolute minimum this year – with an average increase of 2.1 percent, which is below the rate of inflation.
SAIF chief executive Terry Tennens said: “According to the report more than 60% of people received support from a funeral director, a figure that is much higher than for any other source of advice, including friends and family.
“It shows the important role that funeral directors play in helping people cope with the death of a loved one and comes as little surprise. Our members play an active role in their communities and are dedicated to providing a high quality, professional service.”
Mr Tennens said this approach extended to ensuring all clients were fully aware of the range of funeral options available to them – including low cost alternatives.
“As part of our Code of Practice, all SAIF members are committed to transparency of costs to ensure families and loved ones can make an informed decision that is within their budget.
“There is no doubt that greater support is needed for families on lower incomes and we’re pleased that Royal London has made this a focus of its report.
“The Government’s £700 social fund payment is wholly inadequate and hasn’t risen in 15 years. This is despite numerous consultations and committees looking at how the support can be reformed. It is an issue that we have been campaigning about for some time and will continue to support.
“The inadequate level of the payment and the length of time it takes to process claims can be incredibly upsetting for families at what is already a very distressing time.”
However, Mr Tennens added a note of caution regarding Royal London’s call for the funeral profession to provide more direct cremations where there is no traditional funeral service.
“Our members have been arranging direct cremations for many years,” he said. “However, in our experience many families prefer a more traditional approach. A direct cremation means there is no opportunity for friends and family to pay their respects and say a final farewell, which is often an important part of the grieving process.”