The rising cost of funerals is leading people to bury their deceased loved ones in their back gardens, an MP has claimed.
Labour backbencher Emma Lewell-Buck warned that people were falling into debt, forced to sell possessions and take out payday loans as the cost had doubled in a decade.
Some are resorting to DIYfunerals.
Ms Lewell-Buck described the issue as “the last taboo” and called on ministers to tackle funeral poverty by holding a UK-wide review of costs.
And she wants a government social fund to help low-income households.
Ms Lewell-Buck told MPs that a Royal London report suggested 100,000 of the 500,000 families bereaved each year struggle to afford the cost of a funeral.
The average cost stands at 3,551 but in some parts of the country the price may approach 7,000 due to issues over burial space availability, MPs were told as the member for South Shields moved a 10-minute rule.
“One woman from my area approached the Citizens Advice Bureau with unmanageable debts,” saidMs Lewell-Buck.
“She had been unable to get the money together to pay for a headstone for her brother’s grave.
“She ended up applying for a payday loan and the cost of repaying this debt had quickly got out of control.
“Sadly her story is not an isolated one.
“Some are holding do-it-yourself funerals and even having to bury their relatives in their back garden.
“A number of companies are offering cut-price funerals including direct cremations that have no formal service attached to them.
“Increasingly, bereaved individuals who simply cannot afford a formal service are faced with having to opt for a public health funeral – or what used to be referred to as pauper’s funerals.”
In a statement, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Funeral payments provide important support for people on low incomes and certain benefits.
“They cover the cost of a simple, respectful funeral and include the full costs of a burial and purchasing a plot, or a cremation.
“The average funeral payment is 1,225 and this has risen by more than 30% over the last decade.”
Ms Lewell-Buck said a review would need to consider the amount of burial space available, how deaths are registered, the impact of competition between private and local authority crematoria, and the support offered via the benefits system to people who cannot afford a service.