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Government Urged to Use Tax to Over Soaring Funeral Costs

The average cost of a funeral or cremation has soared 80% in the past ten years to around £3,456 and the current government relief is not sufficient to cover this bill.

Rev. Bryan Kerr, minister at Greyfriars Church in Lanark, is urging the UK government to help bereaved families who lack funds to pay for funerals by supporting them with money collected through taxation.

Besides, approximately half of people applying for support are not successful and those who eventually have their requests approved receive just £1,225 on average, Kerr said as quoted by the Express and Star.

In his area, the cost of a burial has skyrocketed 345% in five years, the Herald reported.

The Church of Scotland minister is urging the government to use National Insurance to provide a basic allowance, which can be topped up if people want to hold a more elaborate funeral ceremony.

Funeral poverty is affecting some of the most vulnerable people in the society, forcing them to resort to payday loans to cover funeral expenses. This pushes them further and further into debt, Kerr told the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland last week.

Kerr also believes that taxes should be increased to help cover rising funeral expenses. This would benefit everyone, he said.

In order to ensure the viability of a scheme offering state insurance for funerals, local authorities need to curb their costs as well. This means that councils and organisations providing burial and cremation services should rein in their charges, according to Kerr.