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Cost of dying becoming 'increasingly unaffordable'

The report estimates that over 100,000 people will struggle to pay for a funeral this year alone. Credit: PA

The poorest people in society cannot afford to die because of the rising cost of funerals, a report has claimed.

Researchers said the average cost of dying - including funeral, burial or cremation and state administration - stands at £7,622, having risen by 7.1% in the past year.

The authors of the study at the University of Bath's Institute for Policy Research have called on the Government to review the current system of state support for funeral costs.

For families on low incomes, the Social Fund Funeral Payment, first introduced in 1988, is intended to support those who struggle to find the money to pay for a funeral.

However, the report challenges the effectiveness and availability of this provision. By highlighting an average shortfall of £1,277 that many face, the report suggests that 'funeral poverty' today is some 50% higher than three years ago.

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  1. Border

Scotland marks Thatcher funeral

Flags fly half mast outside Holyrood to mark Margaret Thatcher's funeral Credit: ITV News Border

The flags outside the Scottish Parliament building are flying at half mast this morning to mark the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is in Westminster to attend the ceremony.

The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, will also be among more than 2,000 guests at St Paul's Cathedral.

A debate on Margaret Thatcher's legacy which was due to be held at Holyrood today, was rescheduled for tomorrow after the Scottish Conservatives branded the timing "provocative and insensitive".

  1. Central

Grantham man pays tribute to Lady Thatcher with tattoo

The unusual design took two hours to complete and is Mr Maier's tribute to Lady Thatcher

A tattoo artist from Lady Thatcher's hometown Grantham has paid a life-long tribute to the 'Iron Lady' by having her head tattooed on his leg.

Louis Maier aged 32 wanted to have the six-inch work of art on his right calf to honour her.

The unusual design features Baroness Thatcher's head sitting on an ice cream cone complete with a flake.

The tattoo pays tribute to Thatcher's work as a chemist prior to her political career when she helped invent soft-scoop ice cream

The reason Mr Maier chose the colourful design was to mark Lady Thatcher's work as a research chemist prior to her political career.

Louis Maier says he loves 'Mr Whippy' ice cream so had to get the tattoo

During her time as a chemist she was part of a team said to invent the technique of pumping air into ice cream to produce a soft scoop version to reduce production costs.

Funeral workers sacked for cremating wrong body

Two funeral workers have been sacked from Co-operative Funeral care for cremating the wrong body.

The mix-up saw staff place the wrong body in a coffin and send it to Birtley Crematorium in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

Grieving friends and family, who thought they were saying their final goodbyes to someone they loved, were actually saying farewell to a complete stranger.

Co-operative Funeralcare have apologised to the family, and sacked the two workers involved. A spokesman said:

A serious breach of our strict procedures occurred and following a thorough investigation two members of staff have been dismissed.

Once the issue came to light, we immediately notified the families concerned and apologised for any distress caused and we have liaised closely with the crematoria. We remain in close contact with the families.

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