Funeral salesmen 'misleading customers' over contracts, MP says

Neil Gray said rising costs are placing an 'unbearable burden' on families

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Funerals paid for upfront should be subjected to tighter regulation to prevent people being hit with hidden charges, ministers have been told.

The SNP's Neil Gray said rising costs are placing an "unbearable burden" on the "already stretched" finances of bereaved families.

He said people are turning to funeral plans as a way of addressing the cost pressures, although warned there has been evidence of "apparent mis-selling" by some salesmen.

Mr Gray wants a law change to ensure the Financial Conduct Authority regulates pre-paid funeral plan contracts.

Moving his proposals, Mr Gray told the Commons: "Some funeral plans cover all the associated costs for the funeral but others only cover basic funeral director costs.

"It has been suggested some salespeople are misleading customers as to what is included in the contract they're signing up to."

Mr Gray has received cross-party support for his Financial Regulation of Funeral Services Bill, which he was allowed to introduce to the Commons on Wednesday.

He earlier told MPs: "I'm proposing this Bill in the context of a 90% rise in the cost of funerals in the last decade.

"In my area, North Lanarkshire Council has increased burial and cremation charges by 39% in the last year - the steepest rise in Scotland.

"The average funeral has risen by 7% in the last year in Scotland as a result and to pay for an average funeral in the UK, you're unlikely to get much change from £4,000."

Mr Gray asked for his Bill to return to the Commons on February 24, although it is highly unlikely to become law without Government support.