Friday, May 23, 2014

R.I.P. - Rest In Poverty

"It's becoming too expensive for the poor to die," says Dr. Kate Woodthrope, of the Death and Society Centre at Bath University.

The number of British people who cannot afford their own funeral and have to be buried or cremated at the state's expense is shrouded in secrecy. Local authorities have a legal duty to dispose of the indigent dead – under the Public Health (Control of Disease ) Act - but they don't brag about the subject. In fact they have to be compelled by requests under the U.K.'s freedom of information law to divulge any details.

Dr. Kate Woodthrope is not entirely surprised by the secrecy surrounding this subject. "There is something Dickensian about this. And there is a Victorian legacy of shame about not being able to give someone a decent send-off." A plot to bury a person “is too expensive for many poor people." she explains.

Over the past five years, the number of paupers' funerals (or Public Health Funerals as they are more decorously termed) has increased across the country by 35 percent to more than 3,000 a year. In southwest England, the number has doubled.

No comments: