Aid for bereaved families
Shotts MSP Alex Neil has backed a Scottish Government plan to help struggling families pay funeral costs.
The Funeral Costs Plan commits to a range of actions to improve the support available to families following a bereavement.
These include consumer advice, a Social Innovation Fund to tackle funeral poverty and the pilot of a funeral bond to help people save up.
Mr Neil said: “Sadly, too many people are struggling to pay funeral costs for their loved ones. It is an issue that requires a comprehensive response, because there is no doubt that funeral poverty is a blight on our communities.
“The Scottish Government has taken decisive action to tackle the issue, with a more co-ordinated approach, which will help bereaved families on low incomes organise a respectful funeral without taking on unsustainable debt.
“I am pleased the Scottish Government has engaged with a range of organisations from the funeral sector, as well as local authorities and other support agencies with a more comprehensive approach crucial.”
Last year a report from Citizens Advice Scotland noted the council’s burial costs were £1727, well above the Scottish average of £1373.31.
The 39 per cent hike was specifically mentioned in the report into funeral poverty. The price rise was estimated to raise an extra £552,000 per year for the council coffers.
However, in April the council were praised by the then Craigneuk councillor Gary O’Rorke for making a u-turn on controversial burial charges on weekends and bank holidays.
Previously internments taking place during those times would be more expensive than those done on regular weekdays before the removal of the increase - which could have been as much as £600.
A council spokesman said: “The council has invested in its cemeteries and burial services and the increase in charges last year was necessary to maintain the high level of service we provide for bereaved families.”
Cost struggles MSP Alex Neil Shotts