Scotland’s largest independent co-operative, Scotmid Co-operative has committed to tackling the underlying causes of funeral poverty by signing the Fair Funerals pledge.
Launched in 2014 by the anti-poverty charity Quaker Social Action, the Fair Funerals campaign encourages funeral businesses to make the most affordable funeral package visible to the public and charge clear prices for goods and services s0 people know what they are buying.
Almost 400 funeral directors have signed the Fair Funerals pledge, representing almost 10% of the industry. Among these were Scotmid’s funeral directors, Dundas Fyfe and Thomas Brown.
The campaign comes after funeral costs increased by 80% in the last ten years. The Social Fund funeral payment that used to cover the cost of a basic funeral for people on very low incomes currently covers only 35% of the overall bill, with an average grant of £1,225, and the cost of a funeral was the number one source of credit card debit in 2013.
Fair Funerals campaign manager Heather Kennedy said: “There’s a strong affinity between the Fair Funeral pledge and co-operative values of openness and community empowerment so we’re absolutely delighted Scotmid has signed the pledge.
“When we’re bereaved, we don’t make shrewd consumers and talking frankly about money is often the last thing we want to do.
“By speaking openly and transparently about what things cost, Scotmid will really help bereaved consumers in the Edinburgh area.”
She added: “We hope this will lead the way for other co-operative funeral directors who have yet to sign the pledge. We would like to see all co-operative funeral directors committed to transparent, comparable pricing to help vulnerable bereaved people avoid funeral poverty.”
James Blackburn, head of funerals for Scotmid, Scottish area president of the National Association of Funeral Directors and a member of the Scottish Working Group on Funeral Poverty, said: “The transparency and openness of the pledge matches the openness and transparency of co-operative principles.
“We take our responsibilities to our customers very seriously and so we are delighted to back this campaign, ensuring that our customers are given the best advice available at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.”
In this article
- Dundas Fyfe
- Fair Funerals
- Fair Funerals campaign manager
- Fair Funerals Pledge
- Heather Kennedy
- James Blackburn
- National Association of Funeral Directors
- Scotmid Funeralcare
- Scottish Working Group
- Thomas Brown
- United Kingdom