Incentivised Funeral Savings Scheme pilot: quantitative research

Findings from a survey conducted by Survation with a selection of Scottish adults on attitudes to funeral savings and a proposed government-supported Incentivised Funeral Savings Scheme.

Executive Summary

Background and context

This report presents findings from comissioned research conducted on behalf of the Scottish Government by Survation in order to inform the design and development of a pilot scheme to encourage funeral savings.

The Scottish Government's Funeral Costs Plan is an action plan to tackle funeral poverty and make more affordable funeral options available. It sets out proposals for a pilot of a government-supported incentivised funeral savings scheme (IFSS), designed to encourage people who have not yet made financial provision for their funeral to start saving for it.

It is proposed that the scheme is targeted at people with low-to-middle incomes who are 40 years old and over and who have not made financial provision for their funeral. This survey was conducted with Scottish adults who fit the characteristics of the target population to guage their attitudes to funeral savings and the proposed IFSS.

Research methods

The survey was designed to strengthen understanding on the best target demographic, format, delivery partners and promotional mechanism for the proposed IFSS.

It was conducted with members of the intended target population: those who were over 40 and fell into the C2DE social group (according to the National Readership Survey classification system). This classification system is based on occupation and enables a household and all its members to be classified according to the occupation of the Chief Income Earner. C2DE is a combination of the three following groups:

  • C2: Skilled manual workers
  • D: Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers
  • E: State pensioners, casual and lowest grade workers, unemployed with state benefits only

1024 Scottish adults were surveyed and questions focused on participant attitudes towards:

  • Funeral costs and funeral savings
  • A government-supported incentivised funeral savings scheme
  • Credit unions as a proposed delivery partner
  • Preferred methods of promotion

Fieldwork was conducted between 26th February and 7th March 2019. Of the total number of participants, 704 were interviewed over telephone, while 320 responded online. A mixed method approach combining phone and online surveys was chosen in order to make sure a representative sample of respondents was reached.

Data was weighted by age, sex and region to fit the profile of all Scottish adults aged over 40 years old and belonging to the C2DE socio-economic demographic. Targets for the weighted data were derived from the Office of National Statistics and the Scottish Labour Force Survey.

Results summary

This report documents the following key findings:

  • Around two-fifths of respondents are currently saving for their funeral, with people aged 60 years and over being more likely to do so than people aged 40 to 59 years
  • Only some of those who do not currently save intend to do so in the future. Around half this group did not think they had sufficient funds to set aside money each month to save for their funeral
  • The majority agree that a government contribution towards the costs of their funeral would make them more likely to save for their funeral
  • However, of the proposed levels of government contribution (£125, £250, and £400) only the offer of £400 was perceived by the majority (51%) to be likely to encourage them to save for their funeral
  • The higher the suggested government contribution figure, the more respondents expressed agreement that it would incentivise them to save on a regular basis
  • The majority of respondents knew what a credit union was but only a minority currently used credit unions to save
  • If an incentivised funeral savings scheme was introduced, respondents would prefer to find out about it online



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