My SNP colleagues and I take the issues of funeral costs – and the related problem of funeral poverty – very seriously.The SNP Scottish Government funded the report “Funeral Poverty in Scotland”, published by Citizens’ Advice Scotland in February 2016, looking at this problem, before holding a national funeral poverty conference in November 2016. This will lead into the Scottish Government’s funeral costs plan, which will be published later in 2017.
There has been a 90% rise in the cost of funerals over the last decade. The additional costs are placing an unbearable burden on the already stretched finances of bereaved families, many of whom are getting into serious and unmanageable debt when they lose a loved one. Because of this, my SNP colleague Neil Gray MP in December 2016 attempted to bring forward measures to improve financial regulation of funeral plans.
There is already a Funeral Payment for those who have difficulty paying for funerals that anyone can apply to and when powers are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the SNP will be making sure this payment is made within ten days.
Please be assured that my SNP colleagues and I will continue to support and work to minimise the financial burden to people facing loss.