Revealed: West Midlands has second highest burial costs in the country

The West Midlands is the second highest region of the UK for funeral costs after London.

A hearse enters Stourbridge Crematorium
A hearse enters Stourbridge Crematorium

Dudley and Stourbridge top the table within the region, with the average costs of a funeral £4,439 in both areas.

The average cost across the West Midlands is now £3,977, according to research from insurance group Royal London for its national funeral cost index.

London's average funeral is estimated at £4,838 – £6,479 for burials and £3,198 for cremations. In the West Midlands burials come in at £4,699 and cremations at £3,255. Nationally the average stands at £3,757 – down £27 on 2017.

In the fifth year of Royal London’s research into funeral costs, the average cost of a UK funeral has risen by six per cent from £3,551 in 2014. Individual funeral debt has increased at a much higher rate - 34 per cent - in the last five years, with people now taking on an average debt of £1,744, compared to £1,305 in 2014.

Royal London’s funeral cost expert Louise Eaton-Terry said: "High funeral costs in the West Midlands have left many families taking on a mountain of debt, with our research showing a huge increase in the amount being borrowed by the bereaved over the last five years. More support needs to be offered to families struggling to pay for funeral costs, and as a result being forced into debt.

“The funeral payment is seriously lacking, and it’s shocking that the Government do not consider funeral director’s fees and a coffin to be a 'necessary' cost. We want the social fund to cover the cost of a basic funeral, as no one should have to struggle to give their loved ones a decent send-off.”

Send-off

Royal London found that nationally 12 per cent took on debt to pay for a loved one’s funeral, with the average amount of debt taken on by individuals rising to an all-time high of £1,744. Of those who struggled with funeral costs, 28 per cent people borrowed money from friends and family and 21 per cent took on debt.

Sadly, one in 10 continue to sell possessions to give their loved ones a decent send-off.

Families struggling with funeral costs could be entitled to help from the Government to pay for necessary costs but the research found that the support offered is inadequate. Funeral director’s fees, a coffin, hearse and collection and care of the deceased are not seen as necessary costs by the Government and only up to £700 is offered to bereaved families to cover costs. This leaves bereaved families with an average shortfall of £1,500 if they use the services of a funeral director.

In the West Midlands Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire is the least expensive in the region for a funeral at £3,197

Table 2 shows how widely costs can vary across West Midlands. Dudley and Stourbridge are the most expensive places in the region for a basic funeral, with an average cost of £4,439. Coleshill and Solihull are the most expensive for a burial funeral which costs £5,636. The most expensive location for a cremation in the West Midlands is Nuneaton, at £3,541.

Burton on Trent is the least expensive location for a basic funeral with an average cost of £3,197. It is also the cheapest location for a burial funeral at £3,244. The least expensive location for a cremation funeral is Leamington Spa with a funeral costing£3,121.

Walsall is in sixth place in the regional table at £4,372, Stourport is eighth at £4,314, Wolverhampton 11th at £4,208, West Bromwich 12th at £4,182 and Rowley Regis 13 th at £4,160.

Stafford's average is £3,944 (14th) and Lichfield's figure is £3,731 (20th).

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News