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ITV News investigation finds 70% rise in "paupers' funerals" - with some councils preventing relatives attending

Credit: ITV West Country

ITV News has been investigating the rise in public health funerals, more commonly known as "paupers' funerals".

They happen when families can't pay for their own arrangements. Our findings show they are costing councils over £4 million a year.

300 councils across the UK who responded to an ITV News' Freedom of Information request revealed a 70% increase in paupers' funerals over the last three years.

Across the South West, more than 10 district councils, including Torbay and Exeter, have held close to a hundred of these types of funerals.

31
Number of 'Public Health Funerals' Exeter City Council have held in 2018 so far.

Members of one community in Exeter say they are devastated to not have been able to attend one of their friend's funerals.

Monica Law, 82, passed away at a nursing home and her neighbours were shocked to hear her body had been cremated without a service.

Exeter City Council sent ITV West Country this statement to explain why some friends and families are unable to attend funerals.

Campaigners say the Government needs to provide more support to help more families afford a service for loved ones.

Even a no frills funeral is in excess of £1400. That's a lot of money for somebody who hasn't got anything and we have to acknowledge that people haven't got that residual income and the Government really should be stepping up to the plate. But even that surely should mean some simple gesture of maybe friends or family being allowed to attend some kind of service. It's a basic human right.

– Carolyn Harris MP

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