Arranging a funeral is something that most of us will only have to do a handful of times. That can mean we are unaware of how much they cost or where we can find reliable information. Worries about affordability can make a bereavement even more difficult, particularly where it has not been possible to put aside money for the funeral in advance. It is generally agreed that the availability of clear and consistent information about funeral costs would be of great help to individuals and families who have lost a loved one.
The Scottish Government has worked closely with local government and the funeral industry to try to identify where guidance might encourage such information to be provided. We worked together to create the draft guidance which we consulted on last year. Alongside the formal consultation, we spoke with a broad range of individuals and organisations across Scotland. I am grateful to everyone who contributed their views and experience to help us improve the guidance which I am pleased to lay before parliament today.
The guidance complements other actions which the Government is taking to encourage people to talk about, plan and provide for their funeral, and to help those who may struggle to do so. The publication of the "Planning Your Own Funeral" leaflet in 2017 and the development of the Funeral Support Payment, replacing the current DWP Funeral Expenses Payment later this year, will both help people to prepare for and cope with the costs of arranging a funeral.
I am confident this guidance will improve transparency and help people to make well-informed decisions and I am encouraged by the positive way in which the funeral industry has engaged with its development.
Aileen Campbell MSP,
Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government