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Funeral costs have fallen for the first time on record

17th January 2022

2 min read

Our latest Cost of Dying report, the industry's longest-running study into funeral prices, has found that the price of a funeral has fallen for the first time in 18 years.

  • Cost of living has risen, but cost of dying has fallen by 4.3%
  • Cost of a funeral has fallen to £4,054, but is still rising in some UK regions
  • Direct cremations have seen a sharp increase in popularity

Despite the ongoing cost of living increase, the report found that the average cost of a basic funeral fell from £4,1814 in 2020 to £4,056 in 2021.

The total cost of dying (the basic funeral, plus professional and send-off fees) dropped by 4.3% – from £9,263 in 2020 to £8,864 in 2021.

However, funerals are still a third more expensive than they were a decade ago – and in some regions, the price is still rising.

For example, while the average fall in price was 4.3%, in London funeral costs actually went up by 2.3%, so the average funeral there now costs £5,358.

Mark Screeton, SunLife's CEO, says:

“This year's Cost of Dying figures are quite different from any other year. For the first time, we have seen funeral costs fall – with the average costs of basic funerals, send-off costs and professional fees all coming down.

“However, the picture across the country is more varied than we have ever seen, with some regions seeing sizable increases in the average cost of a funeral, while others have seen significant drops.

“Many families have suffered the unexpected loss of loved ones this year, and have been left struggling to cover the cost of the funeral – no doubt made even harder due to many households already struggling with lower incomes as a result of the pandemic and restrictions.

“Funerals are still relatively expensive, and half of people arranging a funeral in the last year looked for ways to keep funeral costs down – including choosing a cheaper coffin, spending less on flowers and having the wake at home.

“As part of our research, we have asked funeral directors and those who arranged a funeral for their tips and advice on how and where to save on funeral costs, which can be found in our 2022 Cost of Dying Report.”

Read the full report at sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs

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