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Bereaved families struggling to afford funeral fees

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Postcode lottery depending where in the county you get buried or cremated

Bereaved families face a postcode lottery when it comes to funeral fees.

Depending on where someone lives, funeral charges levied by local authorities vary and have been increasing steadily, a new report has discovered.

Citizens Advice Scotland found that the average burial charge this year is £1,428 - an increase on average of 5.5% since last year.

Highest increase in fees was in East Renfrewshire which increased by 49% in a year from £965.00 to £1,440.00 in 2017.

In response to rising costs, the report found eight out of the 32 Scottish local authorities elected to freeze their burial charges - the City of Aberdeen, the City of Dundee, Dumfries and Galloway, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, and South Lanarkshire.

CAS consumer spokeswoman Ruth Mendel said: “Our data shows that there remains a postcode lottery in burial costs in Scotland, with some councils charging significantly higher fees than others just a few miles away.

“Bereavement is a difficult time for any family, and the financial side of planning and paying for a funeral or cremation can of course compound the emotional difficulties, particularly for those who are on lower incomes or where the bereavement is unexpected.

“In publishing this data we hope to sensitively encourage people to think ahead and plan for funeral and cremation fees. And while we understand the financial pressures that Local Authorities face, we urge them to consider the impact that high burial charges can have on people at what can be one of the most difficult times in their lives.”

A Cosla spokesman said charges have increased by 13% across the board between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

He added: "But we appreciate that we cannot continue to lump the burden on citizens and that is why we are calling on the government to provide fair funding for essential services in Thursday’s budget. Councils have no more room left to manoeuvre."