Funerals: A Costly Undertaking?: Tonight

Credit: ITV / Tonight

The price of a UK funeral has doubled in a decade with the average funeral cost now around £3,600.

Funerals are some of the saddest occasions in our lives - and often the hardest to cope with. But few of us might realise just how big the financial impact of funerals can be too.

Not only are they one of our biggest individual credit card spends, but the amount of debt we are getting ourselves into by paying for them is growing with funeral debt increasing to a staggering £147 million.

Credit: ITV / Tonight

A survey undertaken by ITV’s Tonight programme to examine attitudes to death and funerals revealed some worrying statistics about how little we know and talk about our end of life wishes.


  • 78% adults have not done any research into funeral options

  • 53% adults have not communicated funeral wishes to their loved ones

  • 62% adults didn’t know how much the average funeral cost

  • 44% adults didn’t know how they would make up a shortfall in funeral costs with 30% saying they would put money on a credit card

  • 49% adults who had organised a funeral said that knowing the wishes of the deceased made it easier to organise and pay for the send off

Heather Kennedy, Fair Funerals Campaign Manager encourages people to talk Credit: ITV / Tonight

As we found in our survey, 53% of people haven’t communicated their end of life wishes to their loved ones and 62% of people don’t know how much a funeral costs. This suggests that we may not be prepared for making the savviest consumer choices when looking for a funeral.

In the programme, we meet Rosie Inman-Cooke who runs a funeral consumer charity and is concerned about price transparency in the industry. She thinks that people are often unprepared when planning a funeral and become tied into fixed-price packages resulting in them often spending more than they may need to.

Both the National Association of Funeral Directors and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors encourage people to shop around before purchasing a funeral and both say they are encouraging more of their members to put their prices online.

Funerals: A Costly Undertaking? is on ITV at 7.30pm and on The ITV Hub shortly afterwards. Let us know your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #ITVTonight.

Useful links:

What to do after someone dies

The Natural Death Centre

Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2016

Fair Funerals Campaign

Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2016

National Association Of Funeral Directors

The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors