Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Paupers End

Local authorities are required by law to arrange a public health funeral when no suitable arrangements have been made for a deceased person in their area. The services, known as a "pauper's funeral", typically include a coffin and the services of a funeral director. Some council burials take place in an unmarked shared grave. 
In the 12 months up to April 2018 more than 3,800 of the funerals, for people who have died alone, in poverty or without relatives, were held. The funerals cost councils across the country an average of £1,403 last year.
Waltham Forest in east London had the highest rate of public health funerals per death with one for every 17 deaths that year, followed by Hackney, also in east London, with one for every 21 deaths.
Birmingham's local authority paid for 395 funerals in 2017-18 - about one council-funded funeral for every 22 deaths, which was the third highest rate in the UK.
Birmingham City Council cabinet member for health and social care councillor Paulette Hamilton said the number of public health funerals in the city was "disturbing" and symptomatic of "high inequality" in the city. She added there were "more people slipping into that poverty trap. So it is important we have that resource there to bury them." 
The Local Government Association said the figures portrayed a worrying picture of isolation and loneliness across the country. 

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