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A Grave Injustice

The Church of Scotland is to investigate the issue of so-called “funeral poverty” caused by the sharp rise in the cost of burial plots and other associated charges.

Rev Sarah Ross, minister of Forth St Paul’s Parish Church in South Lanarkshire said that her local authority demanded £1,883 up front to carry out a burial, a 183 per cent rise in South Lanarkshire over the cost of burial in 2009, and compares to a cost of a cremation in a council-run crematorium of just £565. Ms Ross accused the council of acting in a “mercenary” way. She said. “In my area, I believe that the council is targeting vulnerable people at the most vulnerable time to make money the easiest possible way.”
Depute Clerk of Lanark Presbytery, Rev Bryan Kerr backed Ms Ross. “We are concerned that local authorities are charging what seems to us to be exorbitant fees for burials,” he said. He said some families may put off burying their loved ones because they cannot raise up-front costs of burial.

The Death of Co-ops

Co-operative Funeralcare, which organises more than 100,000 funerals a year from 900 funeral homes has begun an inquiry after staff were secretly filmed storing dead bodies like "stacking television sets" in a warehouse on an industrial estate off a busy motorway. While relatives believed their loved ones were at funeral homes,the bodies were being stored in a warehouse or "hub". The warehouse contained a garage with a fleet of limousines and hearses, storage for dozens of coffins, and a large refrigerated area – the mortuary – with rack upon rack of bodies, some of them uncovered. When families asked to see their loved ones, the body would be taken back to the funeral home, a journey of up to 30 miles. The documentary claims staff are under pressure to sell expensive funeral packages to mourners, to increase profits, which last year were £52 million. The former funeral ombudsman, Professor Geoffrey Woodroffe, described the practices alleged in the film as shockin…