Dundee Funeral Poverty report calls for action
Published On Wed 9 Oct 2019 by Dominic Glasgow
A major report commissioned by Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government carried out by researchers at the University of Dundee, calls for greater support to bereaved families facing rising funeral debt.
The 90-page Funeral Poverty in Dundee: Funeral Link Evaluation, authored by Dr Carlo Morelli and Ruth Bickerton from the University’s School of Business, has identified more than £500,000 of funeral debt forced upon low income families in Dundee.
The report, which will be released during Challenge Poverty Week, also demonstrated the effectiveness of the charity Funeral Link in providing advice and support to next of kin as they deal with funeral arrangements and the potential debt that follows.
Dr Morelli said, “We found that within the short duration of its existence, Funeral Link has provided a widely recognised, valuable service and was highly effective, by working with the funeral sector, in negotiating lower costs for families in Dundee since its inception in 2019.
“However, while there is some evidence of smaller funeral directors working with families to lessen funeral debt, the largest firms in the funeral sector have been successful in increasing costs at the expense of the hardship being caused to families involved.
“The report recommends that the Scottish and UK governments need to demonstrate much greater regulation over the sector if consumers’ vulnerability is not to be exploited.”
Mary Kinninmonth, Chair of the Funeral Link Board of Trustees, said, “Funeral Link helps support people with money concerns to deal with the practicalities of one of the most difficult times they will face – the death of a loved one. We also raise awareness to encourage people to plan ahead to make it easier for those they leave behind.
“The comprehensive evaluation report from the University of Dundee strongly evidences the extent of funeral poverty and the need for our services. We hope the evidence from it will stand us in good stead as we continue to seek funding to secure the continuation of our much-needed service."
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