Adult Social Care 2017 LocalGovernmentLawyer 24 The cost to councils and hospitals of so- called “pauper funerals” has skyrocketed in recent years. Pauper funerals, which are an obligation under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, are arranged when someone dies, and there are appears to be no family members to pay the costs. The onus is then on the local authority or the health board to step in. A freedom of information request made by BBC local radio in 2015 revealed that public health funeral costs have increased by almost 30% in the four years earlier to about £1.7m, and could cost in excess of £3.5m by 2022. 436 councils questioned The number of such funerals has also increased by 11%. The greatest number of public health funerals took place in the north-west of England, followed by London. As part of the BBC’s research, 436 councils in the UK were asked about how many public health funerals they carry out and how much these cost them. Of the 409 bodies that are responsible for public health funerals, 300 of them gave full responses. The results show councils carried out 2,580 public health funerals in twelve months spanning 2013-14. Some 500,000 or so people die in the UK every year. 63% rise The largest increase in costs was in south- west England, where public health funerals cost councils 63% more than they did four years ago. In total, London spent £1,501,468 on paupers’ funerals between April 2013 and April 2016. Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “These tragic figures speak for themselves. People, mostly elderly, are dying around us with A new way of funding public funerals With the number and cost of public funerals rising, Daniel Curran outlines a new scheme to tackle the growing cost for local authorities.