Co-op helps to tackle funeral affordability gap taking 16% off Scottish costs

15 September 2017

  • Cuts £320 off funeral costs as part of a wider focus on tackling funeral affordability
  • Steps taken as Scots found to be one of the most likely to have faced higher than average funeral costs

Co-op Funeralcare is assisting bereaved Scottish families with funeral affordability by cutting 16% off the cost of one of the Co-op’s most affordable funeral options, the Simple Funeral.

The announcement comes as You Gov data¹ reveals that along with Londoners bereaved Scots are the most likely in Britain to have faced funeral costs higher than the national average of £3,784².

Regions in Britain most likely to pay over £4000 for a funeral

Number Region Percentage
1 London 38%
2 Scotland 34%
3 East 27%
4 North 25%
-6 South 23%
=6 Wales 23%
7 Midlands 21%

To address this, clients now arranging a Simple Funeral with Co-op Funeralcare in Scotland will now receive £320 off the cost. Excluding third party charges, such as cremation, burial or minister’s fees, which average at £796³, this will bring the cost of a Simple Funeral down to £1,675 in Scotland.

Whilst offering a personalised service across all funerals, Co-op’s Simple Funeral combines essential funeral services at a set price with a high quality service and industry leading standards of care. It has been developed to provide a more affordable funeral option at a clear price, increasing transparency on funeral costs. The Co-op’s Simple Funeral includes:

  • Collecting the deceased from their place of death at any time of day or night (within a 15 mile radius)
  • Care of the deceased prior to the funeral
  • A wood effect coffin
  • Viewing of the deceased in normal working hours
  • Funeral arrangement services from the UK’s leading funeral provider
  • A dignified funeral service, with all necessary staff for the funeral
  • Provision of a hearse direct to nearest crematorium or cemetery

The move to reduce costs follows a series of steps taken by the Co-op in the last 18 months to tackle funeral affordability. In 2016 the Co-op took £140 off the price of a Simple Funeral whilst also making a range of improvements. This was followed by the Co-op becoming the first business to sign Fair Funerals new pledge to tackle funeral poverty and increase price transparency.

Commenting on the announcement, John Williamson, Head of Operations for Co-op Funeralcare in Scotland said:

“Driving down the cost of funerals is high on our agenda and we know that affording a funeral is a worrying issue for many Scottish families, particularly when a loss is sudden or unexpected. We recognise that there’s more to be done, and across the industry we have a responsibility to ensure that quality funerals remain both accessible and affordable. Our hope is that steps such as this go some way to removing some of the financial burden, helping families at what is already an incredibly difficult time.”

Heather Kennedy, Fair Funerals campaigns manager says:

“We speak to grieving people every day who are experiencing the trauma and indignity of not being able to afford a funeral for their loved one. Funeral companies have an important role to play in tackling funeral poverty. The Fair Funerals campaign is calling on companies to be more open about their prices and provide affordable options so people can find a funeral within their means. So we’re very pleased to see Co-op take steps to make their simple funeral more affordable for bereaved families in Scotland. We hope that by providing a clear price for the simple funeral and making this visible, Co-op will encourage people to shop around and talk openly about the high costs associated with funerals.’’

In addition to supporting costs where no funeral plan is in place, as the UK’s leading funeral director, Co-op Funeralcare is also encouraging Scottish families to put plans for the future in place, with a £125 saving on all pre-paid funeral plans purchased before 30 November 2017⁴. For the first time, the offer will be available to all customers purchasing a plan via phone, online, and face-to-face in funeral homes.

Co-op’s funeral plan is the UK’s only fully guaranteed funeral plan⁵ meaning it will cover the full cost of the funeral benefits set out in the plan including third party charges such as cremation fees, costs for a church service or Minister or Officiant’s fees, even if prices go up. This means loved ones won’t be left with any financial surprises.

ENDS

Media Contacts:

Alex Wilson
Press and Media Relations Manager
Email: Alexandra.wilson1@coop.co.uk
Mobile: 07540 641368

Sarah Pyatt
Press Officer
Email:Sarah.Pyatt@coop.co.uk
Mobile: 07850 002 312

Notes to editors:

¹ You Gov 2017 funeral planning report. 23% of Scots paid between £4001 and £5000 for a funeral in comparison to the national average of 15% of UK adults paying this amount
²Average UK funeral cost according to Royal London’s National Funeral Cost Index, 2017
³Average UK third party costs are £1055 according to Co-op data and are £796 in Scotland
⁴Offer available for plans purchased before midnight on 30 November 2017. For full T&Cs visit: www.coop.co.uk/125 ⁵Co-op’s funeral plan is the UK’s only fully guaranteed funeral plan meaning it will cover the full cost of the funeral benefits set out in the plan. A Set Plan for Burial does not include the grave purchase

About Co-op Funeralcare:

Co-op Funeralcare conducts almost 100,000 funerals annually across over 1,000 funeral homes. Combined with its leading legal services business, the Co-op is also a national provider of later life products and services ranging from funeral plans, through to wills and probate