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.
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.