Thousands of people are dying alone without friends or family support, a report by the Local Government Association has found.
Councils spent £1.56m last year providing about 2,200 public health funerals, a report by the LGA shows. This is up from £1.46m the previous year.
Cemetery and bereavement officers said a lack of any traceable family or friends, or relatives refusing to pay, were the main reasons for this.
“People, mostly elderly, are dying around us with no family or friends nearby to care for them. It is a sad fact that there are thousands of people across the country with no family or friends to arrange, attend or pay for their funeral. Nobody should find themselves in that position,” said Councillor David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board.
“Our ageing population is growing rapidly and so is the worrying picture of isolation and loneliness across the country,” he added.
“Though little known, providing a funeral with the respect and dignity that people deserve is just one of the services that people in need can rely on their council for,” said Rogers.
Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, when someone dies outside of a hospital and there is no one willing to pay, councils must make the necessary arrangements for a public health funeral.