Increase in ‘pauper’s funerals’
Bassetlaw Council has already paid out for four funerals so far this year, compared to six in 2009 , seven in 2010, one in 2011 and three in 2012 - according to Freedom of Information figures obtained by the Guardian.
The authority has spent around £26,000 on pauper’s funerals in the past four years and says the recent increase is partly down to the economic climate.
“Each case has its own individual circumstances but having spoken to other Local Authorities and drawing from our own experiences, there seems to be a trend where individuals who have no remaining family members, or have become estranged from their family, and have been living in financial hardship. It would be difficult to say if this will become a growing trend,” said a council spokesman.
The Government Funeral Payment system, designed for those who need support with funeral costs, rejectedhalf of the 69,000 requests made in 2011, according to a report by University of Bath sociology lecturer Dr Kate Woodthorpe.
“Quite simply, it is becoming too expensive for poor people to die,” she said. “Thousands of people in society are being let down by a system of state support that lacks coherence and is so unclear that some applicants have to resort to alternative methods to organise a funeral.”