Cut-price Co-op offers better funerals cheaper

Charles 4 Comments

So. Co-operative Funeralcare is cutting the price of its ‘simple’ funeral by 7 per cent to £1995 excluding third-party payments (once known, quaintly, as disbursements). That’s £140. If you’re a Co-operative Group member you get to save £380. Reminder: the Group is just one of many co-operative societies. There are other independent societies which aren’t in on this price reduction and may already charge less.

Well done, Funeralcare! We thought we’d wait a lifetime to say that.

Why should The Co-op concern itself with low-price funerals? Because it is an organisation founded by working people to enable all working people to buy those things they would otherwise be unable to afford. Essentials, obviously, not Maseratis. If anyone should be doing their bit to mitigate the effects of funeral poverty it’s The Co-op. All part of its social mission, its raison d’etre: the point of The Co-op.

What do you get for your £1995? According to the Co-op, a nicer coffin; collection of mortal remains day or night within a 15-mile radius; viewing; hearse direct; and “A dignified funeral service, with all necessary staff”. All in all, a better funeral at a lower price. (No direct cremation option, though.)

Which sort of begs the question: what took you so long? Is this an admission that you were overcharging? How otherwise can you offer something better for less?

A great many independent undertakers will have scrutinised the Co-op price cut with a raised eyebrow and drawn their own conclusions. A large proportion of them already charge less than this despite The Co-op’s economies of scale. Is this anything more than a PR exercise?

Whatever, it’s at least a step in the right direction. Over to you, Dignity and Funeral Service Partners!

UPDATE 10-02-2016   Oh dear, oh dear! There’s Funeralcare MD Richard Lancaster boasting about “our industry leading standards of care”, setting the shining halo above Funeralcare at just the right tilt, when all of a sudden, Flump! What’s that in the fan? Yuck. It’s the Sun wot broke it, complete with ‘shocking’ photo. Here’s the Mirror: “A funeral home has reportedly be found to store bodies on makeshift shelves in a dirty corridor next to a load of junk. The recently deceased were left in allegedly ‘scandalous’ conditions at Midcounties Co-operative Funeralcare home in Walsall … The bodies were left in coffins next to an old bicycle, and tatty storage boxes, the Sun reports. Jane Hughes, whose 74-year-old dad John Bagby’s body was kept at the home awaiting his funeral said: ‘I’m sickened to the stomach.'” Photographs apparently taken inside the home show coffins on a shelving unit in a corridor. Water reportedly appears to be leaking in from a hole in the roof.”  Midcounties is an independent co-op which brands its funerals under Funeralcare. The NAFD is investigating. 


  1. Charles

    Just as an addendum Charles, the full £380 saving quoted for Co-operative Group Members only applies if you’re quick enough to get in and arrange a funeral in the next six weeks – see point 3 of the Ts & Cs below. Just in case any later readers of the blog think they’re quids in.

    3. The offer is only valid for funerals arranged and Funeral Plans purchased on or after 18 January 2016, and up to and including 31 March 2016.

  2. Charles

    Ah, Fran, thank heaven for diligent readers quick to spy a pig in a poke. Those Midlanders had better get their dying skates on quick. “Doctor, we need him dead by 31 March so’s we qualify for our divvy.”

  3. Charles

    Hurry, Hurry! Die now and save?

    We’re proud to offer a lower cost service – and that we have done for many years. Our own offer doesn’t end either, it’s honest, transparent and on our website.

  4. Charles

    I know I got the quote below from you in the first place, Charles, but I can’t stop myself when I read crap about the ‘cost’ of funerals. Funerals are cheap, that’s the default position, because ALL funerals are home funerals at their birth. It’s people’s need to sub them out rapidly to commercial firms that makes them cost a lot, and it’s funeral directors’ bills that are (rightly enough, given what they do) high. Let’s hear no more about the high cost of funerals — rather the vulnerabilty of recently bereaved people when they are told they have to spend lots of money, even if it is at a discount from its previous, unnecessarily high rate. Remember, funerals are cheaper, and more rewarding, to make than to buy.

    “The problem with funerals is not that they cost too much, but that they cost at all. The funeral that communities used to provide for themselves has been stolen, and then sold back to them, at a price. We are now so used to this that all we can complain about is the cost at which it is sold back!” (Walter, 1990, p80.)

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