One of the first experiences that I had in understanding poverty was when, as a child, I was in a graveyard and came across an area with no headstones, which I was told was the area of the paupers’ graves. At the weekend, I watched the film “I, Daniel Blake” and heard the phrase “the paupers’ slot at the crematorium”. I thought that we had made progress and that no one would be described as a pauper in 21st century Scotland.
The rising burial and cremation charges in Scotland have been highlighted by Citizens’ Advice Scotland, and their research has shown the impact that funeral poverty is having today.
I raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament to recognise this, and this week the parliament debated the motion.
One of the stand out parts from the Citizen’s Advice report “Funeral Poverty in Scotland” really highlights why we need to tackle funeral poverty. It states: ““If an individual is unable to pay the cost of the funeral, there are two possible outcomes. Either they take on a level of debt which may create a distress that can interfere with the grieving process, or they may seek to reduce the expense and provide ‘less of a funeral’ in which case guilt and stigma may interfere with grieving.”
I hope in raising this issue in parliament, we can work together to sort out the issue once and for all.