Competition watchdog to investigate funeral sector as prices escalate

Cost has increased by 6% each year – twice the inflation rate – for past 14 years, says CMABritain’s competition watchdog is launching an investigation into the funeral market after it found the cost of organising one increased by 6% each year – twice …

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McDonald’s, fancy dress and a VW? Britons are doing death differently

Survey finds that 40% want their funeral to be a celebration of life, not a gloomy, sombre affair Britons are increasingly shunning traditional funerals in favour or more unusual send-offs, which last year included a McDonald’s-themed drivethrough even…

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UK funerals industry under investigation for high prices

Competition watchdog questions why prices have risen three times the inflation rate for over a decadeBritain’s competition watchdog is to launch a major investigation into the £2bn-a-year funerals market, after finding prices have risen above inflation…

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I was badly let down by Bank of Scotland’s bereavement service

The bank took my name off our joint current account instead of my late partner’s, then gave me the runaround

My partner died in January and I went into a local Bank of Scotland branch with all relevant documents to close his accounts and transfer our joint Ultimate Reward current account into my sole name. This account includes benefits such as travel insurance and AA cover.

A few months later, I contacted the AA to ask about upgrading the policy and was told I couldn’t as my name had been removed from the details they were holding and everything had been transferred to my late partner’s name.

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McDonald’s pulls ad that ‘exploited child bereavement’

After series of complaints, fast food giant withdraws advert that showed boy being told of dead father’s liking for Filet-o-Fish

McDonald’s has pulled its new advert from TV screens and apologised for any upset caused after it was accused of exploiting childhood bereavement.

The advert, first screened last week, shows a boy asking his mother about his dead father. As she tells him what his dad was like, the boy looks sad as they do not seem to have much in common. His face lights up once they arrive at a McDonald’s and, as he eats a Filet-o-Fish, his mother says: “That was your dad’s favourite too.”

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Grief takes a backseat for widowed entrepreneurs

Taking over a business following the death of a spouse is a tough ask, but people in this position can look to support networks for help

When Sandra Chandler lost her husband Glyn to heart failure in 2015, she didn’t just have a personal tragedy to cope with – also at stake was his sports education business RuggerEds, which she suddenly found herself running with little experience.

Shock, grief and a sense of duty to Glyn’s legacy ensued. Meanwhile, Chandler had to deal with the pressing practical issues of business. “In that first year I resented it. I found it difficult to even log on to emails.”

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Tax relief cut doesn’t add up for landlords, plus Bank warns over consumer credit

Also, benefit cuts hit grieving families, leasehold ‘nightmare’ costs homebuyers, and house sale undermined by Network Rail and knotweed

Hello and welcome to this week’s Money Talks – a roundup of the week’s biggest stories and some things you may have missed.

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‘Cruel’ benefit cuts put pressure on grieving families

Benefits paid out when a husband or wife dies are being slashed, meaning those who do suffer such heartache will miss out on tens of thousands of pounds. Now bereaved families are speaking out.

Helen Parker is struggling to put into words how she felt when her 43-year-old husband Philippe died from cancer last year. “Fear,” she says finally. “I felt fear. Knowing I was on my own, that I was solely responsible for our two sons, that every penny would count. I had no idea how I would cope.”

Helen earns just £6,000 a year as a part-time early years education inspector. It was a huge relief to discover she was entitled to claim bereavement benefits until her youngest child Elliot, who was six when his dad died, leaves full-time education in up to 13 years’ time. This “benefit” is based on Philippe’s 20 years of national insurance contributions – it’s the money he paid into the state pension system from which he will now never claim. Helen doesn’t feel particularly lucky to be getting this cash – she feels it is only right that the money her husband paid into the tax system is being paid out to support his bereaved children while they are in education. But she is far more fortunate than some people who are reading this article will turn out to be.

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Young and bereaved – and now facing cuts to crucial financial support

Changes to benefit payments for people who suffer bereavement at a young age could see them lose out by as much as £12,000

They are meant to provide financial support to people whose spouse or civil partner has died. But a shake-up of the system which handles benefits for bereaved families has resulted in accusations that working parents will be deprived of £12,000 each.

The government revealed earlier this month how the current system of bereavement support payments will change in April in order, it says, to modernise the structures. But it has provoked a barrage of opposition and criticisms that many parents who are widowed after 5 April will be far worse off. The drop in income these families will suffer means many parents will be forced to increase their working hours while their children are still trying to cope with their loss, bereavement charities predict.

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