Forget the cost of living, check out the cost of dying!

The cost of a funeral has jumped past £7,000 as a result of soaring council costs

The GMB trade union has published a damning report into the cost of being buried or cremated in the UK. The union argues that, thanks to their soaring charges, local councils are ‘making a killing’ out of British bereavement

The UK’s highest cremation charges

By a long way, the most expensive place to be cremated is the City of London, whose council charges £3,464 for a single funeral. This is £1,114 more than the £2,350 charge levied by fellow London council Wandsworth. Croydon at £2,265 and Lambeth at £2,132 complete the top four spots for the capital

The first non-London council to make this list is Stoke, which takes fifth place with cremation charges totalling £2,045. In sixth place, Manchester (£2,012) is the only other council to charge more than £2,000 for cremation

In fact, being cremated in the City of London will cost you more than twice as much as going up in smoke in Surrey’s Kingston upon Thames, which charges a mere £1,635 for cremation

Here’s the ‘top 20′ councils with the highest cremation charges, including cremation, interment of ashes and Exclusive Burial Rights (EBR):

Rank     Council Cremation cost
1 City of London £3,464
2 Wandsworth, London £2,350
3 Croydon, London £2,265
4 Lambeth, London £2,132
5 Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire £2,045
6 Manchester £2,012
7 Rushmoor, Hampshire £1,984
8 Walsall, West Midlands £1,892
9 Sutton, London £1,865
10 Sandwell, West Midlands £1,837
11 Bexley, London £1,836
12 Wolverhampton, West Midlands £1,811
13 Barnet, London £1,798
14 Merton, London £1,786
15 Ipswich, Suffolk £1,743
16 Bristol, City of £1,675
17 Coventry, West Midlands £1,661
18 Sefton, Merseyside £1,655
19 Spelthorne, Surrey £1,648
20 Kingston upon Thames, Surrey £1,635

The UK’s highest burial charges

Even worse news if you fancy being buried: going into the ground costs considerably more than going up the crematorium’s chimney.

Sixteen of the top 20 in terms of internment costs are London councils, with the four remaining entries being Spelthorne (Surrey), Rushmoor (Hampshire), Southend-on-Sea (Essex) and Exeter (Devon). In fact, London boroughs take the first 11 places, before Spelthorne in Surrey creeps into 12th place

Lambeth claims the top spot, with the council charging a staggering £5,329 for a single burial. The City of London (£5,185) bags second place, Wandsworth gets third with £4,190, and fourth and fifth spots go to fellow London boroughs Merton (£4,125) and Croydon (£4,106)

Here’s the full list:

Rank    Council Burial cost
1 Lambeth, London £5,329
2 City of London £5,185
3 Wandsworth, London £4,190
4 Merton, London £4,125
5 Croydon, London £4,106
6 Enfield, London £3,665
7 Bromley, London £3,647
8 Kensington and Chelsea £3,600
9 Bexley, London £3,256
10 Richmond upon Thames, London £3,190
11 Barking and Dagenham, London £3,170
12 Spelthorne, Surrey £2,992
13 Southwark, London £2,984
14 Havering, London £2,955
15 Hammersmith and Fulham, London £2,940
16 Rushmoor, Hampshire £2,837
17 Southend-on-Sea, Essex £2,730
18 Barnet, London £2,692
19 Brent, London £2,675
20 Exeter, Devon £2,650

In comparison the cheapest place in the UK to be buried was in Rushcliffe in the East Midlands where burial charges were listed at just £87!

Dying to make a profit

Clearly, the lack of space in England’s crowded capital has pushed up the cost of burial plots alongside property prices

At the recent GMB Congress, General Secretary Paul Kenny, said: “When council charges are included, the average funeral costs are £3,284, and total costs average over £7,000, according to some surveys. Someone is making a lot of money out of people’s bereavement”

Death costs £7,114

The other major study in this area is the annual Sun Life Direct Cost of Dying Survey

In its 2012 report, Sun Life calculates that average funeral costs come to £3,284. If all services are included (such as funeral director’s costs, doctor’s fees for certifying death, flowers, hearses and catering for the wake/reception), then this total leaps to an average of £7,114

Sky high costs like these starkly illustrate how much families and individuals need to set aside to be sent off in style - rather than be consigned a pauper’s burial at the state’s expense!

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