Our Pledge

Press release

Houghtons has joined the national campaign to tackle funeral poverty and pledged to provide a fair deal for local people on low incomes. Funeral poverty exists when the cost of a funeral is beyond a person’s ability to pay. One in seven people now experience serious financial difficulty when paying for a funeral and the cost of dying has risen ten times faster than the cost of living. Over the past ten years the cost of a basic funeral has more than doubled– from an average of £1,920 to £3,897.

At the same time, the grant from the state, available to people on very low incomes has dwindled. It now only covers around 35% of the overall cost of a funeral. Often people don’t find out whether they are eligible for support for a month, by which time they have had to commit to funeral costs having no idea if they’ll get any help towards them.

Buying a funeral can be expensive and confusing. Bereaved people don’t often make savvy consumers, and our squeamishness around discussing death and money can mean we have very little awareness as consumers about whether a price is fair and reasonable. There is a lack of clear, comparable information about prices which make an already stressful, disorientating time worse for people. And there are big differences in what funeral directors charge.

Houghtons has signed up to the Fair Funerals pledge to help tackle this problem.

We pledge:

  1. To recognise that funerals can be expensive and many people struggle with the cost.
  2. To help people to find funerals that are within their means. 
  3. To be open about their most affordable options, including third party costs:

– in initial conversations 

– within their price lists

– on their website. 

The Fair Funerals pledge has been launched by anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action. QSA run Down to Earth, a project supporting people on low incomes to cover the cost of a funeral. Their Fair Funerals campaign is working with government, charities and the funeral industry to tackle the growing problem of funeral poverty.

Heather Kennedy, Funeral Poverty Campaigner at Quaker Social Action says:
“If you’re on a low income and find yourself having to pay for a funeral, it’s very likely you’ll experience funeral poverty. No one should have to go through the distress of not being able to afford a decent send-off for someone they love.

The fact is, because of the price of funerals and the lack of state support, funeral poverty is inevitable for a lot of people in our society. Partly because of our squeamishness around talking about death and money, we’ve shied away from confronting funeral poverty for too long. The Fair Funeral pledge encourages communities to start discussing funeral poverty. It challenges funeral directors to be open and upfront about their prices and provide an affordable option for those people who are struggling.

Many funeral directors are well aware of funeral poverty, and we applaud those that are rising to the challenge and tackling it head-on. By signing up to the pledge, funeral directors are committing themselves to providing the information and choices that allow bereaved customers to make empowered decisions.”

The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index:http://www.royallondon.com/Documents/PDFs/Reports/2758_Royal_London_Funeral_poverty_report.pdf

Sunlife ‘Cost of Dying’ Report 2016: https://www.sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2016/

More about the Ten Minute Rule: www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/bills/private-members/

About Quaker Social Action
Quaker Social Action exists to resource, enable and equip people living on a low income in east London. Our projects work towards our vision of ‘a just world where people put people first’, recognising the people we work with as agents of change not objects of charity. We work to tackle social exclusion, seeing poverty as not just material but also social. Our work is practical, relating to the everyday needs of the people we work with to make a tangible difference to their lives: http://www.quakersocialaction.org.uk/

About Down to Earth
A project of Quaker Social Action, Down to Earth supports people on low incomes to arrange affordable, meaningful funerals. They are based in London but can support people from anywhere in the UK: http://www.quakersocialaction.org.uk/Pages/Category/down-to-earth
Call 020 8983 5055if you’re worried about paying for a funeral.

About the Fair Funerals campaign
Quaker Social Action launched the Fair Funerals campaign in 2014 to tackle the underlying causes of funeral poverty. It does this by:

  • Educating people about their choices so they can avoid funeral poverty
  • Influencing government to do more for people in funeral poverty
  • Working with the funeral industry to do more for people in funeral poverty

Visit us here: http://www.fairfuneralscampaign.org.uk

To contact the Fair Funerals campaign, contact Giles Robinson on 0208 983 5040 or email fairfunerals@qsa.org.uk

Follow the Fair Funerals campaign on twitter