People on low incomes are increasingly finding that the death of a loved one plunges them into serious and long-term debt. Those on low incomes or benefits are hardest hit, because they have little or no savings and have to spend a much larger proportion of their income on funeral costs than those on an average income. Church Action on Poverty's new report Preventing Poverty Beyond Death, published yesterday, exposes the scale of this problem.
The cost of funerals has risen dramatically over the last 10 years, and funeral directors often fail to make their options and pricing structures clear. Bereaved people feel under pressure to organise the funeral quickly, and often have little or no experience of organising a funeral.
47% of English funerals were performed by the Church of England, Roman Catholic or Methodist Church in 2012. The Church of England alone takes around 3,000 funerals every week (around 34% of the UK total). This provides a significant opportunity for clergy and church ministers to help reduce the impact of funeral poverty. By talking to bereaved families when planning a funeral service, ministers can provide information about affordable funerals and alternative credit options, before the family commit themselves to an over-priced and unaffordable funeral.
You can help make sure your church takes a pastoral responsibility for helping bereaved people avoid funeral poverty. Use our e-action to send an email to a leader in your denomination - click here now.
Communications Manager, Church Action on Poverty
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Church Action on Poverty works with church and community groups across the UK to make tackling poverty a priority. Our work involves: educating churches about poverty in the UK; enabling people in poverty to speak for themselves; working for policies to eradicate poverty; promoting reflection and action for social justice.
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