In response to the Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) report on funeral poverty, the Scottish Government have organised a series of round-table discussions with funeral directors, local authorities and charities, amongst others. They will focus on ways to tackle the debt and costs associated with funeral payments.
Funeral payments, which are part of the Regulated Social Fund, are among the social security powers to be devolved to Scotland which the Scottish Government is currently consulting on.
The discussions, which were recommended by the independent report on funeral poverty, will take place throughout autumn. They will focus on how best to support people to plan ahead for their funeral, helping people understand their choices and developing more affordable funeral options.
Discussions will end with the first national conference on funeral poverty, on Wednesday 16th November in Edinburgh. A Funeral Costs plan will then be created to tackle issues relating to the affordability of funerals.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance, who will lead some of the discussions, said, “For families who are mourning the loss of a loved one to be faced with mounting debt and distress because of the cost of paying for a funeral is completely unacceptable and I’m determined to address it.
“It’s important we make sure all parts of the industry work together to give people a realistic choice when they are making difficult decisions about the funeral of a loved one.”
The announcement of the conference coincides with the publication of burial and cremation costs charged by local authorities and private providers. The CAS figures show an 8% increase in burial and an 11% increase in cremation costs in the last year, and continued variation in costs between local authorities.
Further information on the conference will be available soon.