Mourners forced to rent coffins – media

Surging inflation in the UK appears to be behind the growth of casket-renting services

Cash-strapped Brits are renting temporary coffins for funeral services before having their loved ones buried in cardboard, the Sun reported on Monday. Funeral directors say the cost-saving measure is becoming more popular as Brits struggle with a skyrocketing cost of living.

A temporary coffin is obtained for the day of the funeral and is returned afterward. The deceased is placed into a cheap and lightweight ‘inner’ coffin, which sits inside the rented casket. This outer coffin is then removed after the service, leaving the body to be interred inside the lighter one.

The average cost of renting a coffin is £250 ($312), the Sun reported, much below the £750 ($937) price tag for buying a casket outright.

“There are many ways to keep the cost of a funeral within a budget, while making it special,” a spokesman for the National Association of Funeral Directors told the British tabloid. "Provided it is clear what is being provided, this is one of several choices available that may assist families.”

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UK sees highest inflation in 30 years

While one manufacturer of rental coffins told the Sun that her company’s products should be seen as no different from renting a wedding dress, an “industry insider” told the tabloid that “this move is the latest sign the living costs crisis is literally becoming a killer issue.”

"This rental coffin market is saving families thousands of pounds, but it’s sad they must come to terms with the fact their loved one isn’t in an enclosed casket,” the source said.

Inflation in the UK rose by 7% in the year leading up to March. This 12-month rate is the highest since March 1992. Energy costs have soared even higher in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine and Britain’s decision to cut itself off from Russian energy imports, as households are now paying 28% more for gas and 19% more for electricity.

Meanwhile, 83% of adults in the UK reported an increase in their cost of living in March.  Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted that real household incomes would fall by 2.2% this year, and that Britons would experience the largest fall in living standards since records began in 1956. 

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