Figures show 'more dying alone'
Published 08/08/2010 | 10:52
More people are dying alone and lonely each year, new figures have suggested.
Councils across England and Wales spent £1.56 million last year providing about 2,200 public health funerals, up from £1.46 million the previous year, according the Local Government Association.
The survey, based on 208 council responses, shows one authority spent £368,682 fulfilling its duty on 258 burials.
David Rogers, of the LGA, said: "These tragic figures speak for themselves. People, mostly elderly, are dying around us with no family or friends nearby to care for them.
"It is a sad fact that there are thousands of people across the country with no family or friends to arrange, attend or pay for their funeral. Nobody should find themselves in that position.
"Our ageing population is growing rapidly and so is the worrying picture of isolation and loneliness across the country.
"Though little known, providing a funeral with the respect and dignity that people deserve is just one of the services that people in need can rely on their council for."
Numbers of public health funerals differ greatly between different types of councils.
On average there are 12 a year in English single tier authorities - London boroughs, metropolitan and unitary councils - and three in districts and Welsh authorities.
Individual funeral costs varied from about £300 to £3,000, the average being £959, with average annual expense ranging from £2,582 for Welsh authorities to £13,750 in London boroughs.