REVEALED Most expensive and cheapest locations for funerals as debt rises to £147m


The average cost is now £3,675, with 93,359 adults each year borrowing around £1,601 to pay the fees of undertakers, vicars and doctors involved in a basic burial or cremation.

Adding on the price of gravestones, flowers and a wake can push the price even higher, found research by investment mutual Royal London.

And there is a growing postcode lottery with a growing gap between the most expensive and cheapest places to die, according to the latest National Funeral Cost Index which was compiled using data from the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management.

Charges range from £2,917 for a burial in Belfast, to £9,679 for a burial in Kensal Green in London. Cremation costs are significantly lower in comparison to burials, with Greenock in Scotland (£2,873) being the cheapest.

One in seven mourners admit struggling with the bills with a more than a quarter borrowing money from family and friends (27 per cent) and 24 per cent going into debt by taking out a loan or going into their overdraft.

In a bid to keep expenses as low as possible, an increasing number of people are choosing a “direct” burial or cremation.

This means the body of the person who has died goes straight off to be cremated or buried without a funeral ceremony. John Lennon was directly cremated, as were Anita Brookner and David Bowie.

Families and friends do not go along for a “send off” and although direct cremations and burials are not offered by the majority of funeral directors, the report findings show a rising demand for it.

Nick Willcocks, co-ordinator at, said: “A growing number of people are struggling to meet funeral costs, but there are affordable options available across the UK, and with a little looking around it is possible to find firms that will meet your budget. We encourage individuals to speak to two or three firms directly, get a feel for them and then make a choice.

“An increasing number of people are choosing to separate the cremation from the celebration of life and through direct cremation this invariably provides a more affordable but no less dignified alternative to a traditional, attended funeral.”

In the UK, the average cost for a cremation funeral is £3,214, comprising: £716 (cremation) + £164 (doctor) + £143 (minister) + £2,208 (funeral director).

The typical price for a burial funeral is £4,136, comprising: £1,785 (burial) + £143 (minister) + £2,208 (funeral director).

Mona Patel, Royal London”s consumer spokeswoman, said: “When dealing with the loss of a loved one, the last thing that people need is financial stress as well.

“It”s shocking that more than 90,000 people had to borrow an average of £1,600 simply to give their loved ones a decent send off.

“It”s vital that the Government tackles funeral poverty by addressing the flaws with the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment.

“This includes the length of time it takes to get a payment which then often falls far short of the cost of the funeral.

“The funeral industry also needs to address consumer demand for a simpler and cheaper funeral option, by providing more access to direct cremation and direct burials.”

Royal London is calling for policymakers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow Scotland”s lead and do away with doctors” fees and for the value of the Social Fund Expenses Payment, which can offer people on low incomes grants of upto £700 to pay funeral expenses, to be increased


Location / Burial / Cremation / Average

Kensal Green £9,679 / £3,165 / £6,422

Enfield £7,651 / £3,296 / £5,474

Beckenham £7,267 / £3,471 / £5,369

Southgate £7,339 / £3,295 / £5,317

Golders Green £6,861 / £3,185 / £5,023

Wandsworth £6,912 / £3,114 / £5,013

East Finchley £6,436 / £3,105 / £4,771

Kingston Upon Thames £6,416 / £3,114 / £4,765

Islington £6,436 / £3,090 / £4,763

Manor Park (London) £6,277 / £3,235 / £4,756


Location Burial Cremation Average

Belfast £2,917 / £2,879 / £2,898

Amersham £3,126 / £3,061 / £3,094

Yeovil £3,050 / £3,189 / £3,119

Greenock £3,380 / £2,873 / £3,127

Paisley £3,316 / £2,951 / £3,134

Bridgwater £3,041 / £3,230 / £3,136

Kirkleatham £3,046 / £3,235 / £3,141

Glasgow West £3,316 / £3,003 / £3,160

Swindon £3,066 / £3,255 / £3,161

Abingdon £2,987 / £3,370 / £3,179