This is a critical time to persuade the government to take action on funeral poverty. By working together, we’ve persuaded them that too many people are now unable to afford a respectful funeral when someone dies. They’ve even agreed to carry out a review of the funeral grant so they can make it fairer.
But with all the political instability right now, unless we get some commitments from our candidates, these promises could be forgotten. It’s also the perfect time to ask our politicians to go further in the fight against funeral poverty.
Most election candidates will be taking part in local husting meetings to meet voters and try to win their support. We encourage you to go along and quiz them about funeral poverty! You might even want to organise your own husting event - here are some instructions from the Evangelical Alliance.
Any questions you ask candidates will be a fantastic way of making sure funeral poverty doesn't slip off the agenda.
Here are questions to ask your electoral candidates:
Does your Party have a plan to tackle funeral poverty?
Currently, the government has no plan to tackle funeral poverty, despite it going up 50% in three years. The government should follow the lead of Scotland who have put a sustainable plan into place to address rising funeral costs and help people before they get into unmanageable debt following the death of a loved one. The Work and Pensions Select Committee have urged government ministers to carry out a "far ranging review" of funeral poverty, but so far no progress has been made. Any Party that is elected must come up with a robust plan to tackle funeral poverty, before it becomes a national scandal.
Would your Party make the funeral grant fair?
The funeral grant was designed to cover the costs of a basic funeral for people with no other means to pay, but it was capped in 2003 whilst the cost of funerals has increased way above inflation. This means the grant now covers only 40% of an average funeral. The Work and Pensions Select Committee say the government must increase the grant so it covers basic costs, to stop people being hit by crippling funeral debts. So far, no action has been taken to increase the grant.
Will your Party improve how bereaved people are treated?
Our Down to Earth service supports grieving people who are treated insensitively and given the wrong information by government bereavement advisers. Their forms and paperwork are frequently lost. People have to wait until the funeral has taken place before they find out if they'll get any help from the funeral grant. And all this while they're grieving the loss of someone they love. All Parties should commit to carrying a thorough review of the funeral grant, to ensure these problems are ended,.
Would you like this information in a downloadable, printable document?
If you have an questions or want to let us know how you got on quizzing your candidates, please do get in touch:
Call: 020 8983 5050