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cremation rising costs

Variation in cremation cost across the UK 2016

Every year crematoria are getting more expensive and there is now a big difference between the top and the bottom.

From the lowest price is from a crematoria run by the a local authority – Belfast City council, where the cost is £364 the highest is a private crematoria run by the funeral giant Dignity at Beckenham in Greater London at £956

That is almost three times the price, for what is the same process? Listed below are the possible reasons for this, some or none may be true and I doubt we shall ever find out.

  •  To recoup investestment, whether that is a development of a new facility or renovation.
  •  Higher fixed costs eg ground rent
  •  Local wages
  •  Greater number of staff
  •  Inefficient administration
  •  An authority / company has chosen to make their price comparable with neighbours
  •  Desire to maximise profit or alternatively a desire to minimise the cost to the public

The average cost in 2016 is approx £700

Some reasons above are perhaps more palatable than others. Although unsurprising nine of the ten most expensive are private and ten out ten of the most affordable are public.

However paradoxically the more remote ones (i.e. without competition) tend to be the cheapest.

I suppose a secondary but perhaps equally important question is do they represent value for money. Those using the crematoria a Beckenham may feel they got value whereas the residents of Belfast felt fleeced? Perhaps unlikely, but it is certainly true that some of the crematoria on the higher side of the average will represent better value for money e.g. nicer grounds, nicer ambience, less hurried, greater customer experience etc etc.

It is generally accepted that many Council make money from crematoria, disgusting you may think but arguably  it subsides other services like burial, you may think that they should do it at cost as you don’t want your funeral cross subsiding other activities, but that is what we elect councillor to decide. It should be noted however that some councils subsidise the cost of cremation. One interesting question is what should local authorities do – invest in better buildings and grounds causing the cost to raise or stick with many of those god awful sixties monstrous, there is a case for both side.

Is £700 reasonable for what you get? It is certainly not cheap, the problem is choice is limited if not non-existent. And now the cost of the cremation represents a high percentage of overall funeral costs. I hope this trend in rising prices stops but there seems little sign of that.


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