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Rise Found In Public Health Funerals

A new investigation carried out by ITV News has found a rise in public health funerals (or paupers’ funerals, as they’re also known), with a 70 per cent hike in ceremonies of this kind in the last three years.

These funerals cost councils more than £4 million a year, with campaigners now saying that the government must do more to offer support to families so they can afford services for their friends and relatives.

MP Carolyn Harris observed: “Even a no frills funeral is in excess of £1,400. That's a lot of money for somebody who hasn't got anything and we have to acknowledge that people haven't got that residual income and the Government really should be stepping up to the plate. But even that surely should mean some simple gesture of maybe friends or family being allowed to attend some kind of service. It's a basic human right.”

In some cases, friends and families find that they’re unable to attend public health funerals, with Exeter City Council explaining that third parties are hired to carry out closed cremations. Because there is no ceremony to attend, friends and families may be informed of the situation but the council may not always be aware of when the funerals take place.

According to an article in the Sunday Times, reported on by the Independent, a Bracknell Forest Council official was recorded telling undercover journalists that some of the poorest people in the UK are now being barred from going to the funerals of loved ones in order to help councils cut costs.

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