Paupers’ funerals cost the Vale of Glamorgan Council thousands of pounds last year, new research shows.

Public health funerals, commonly known as paupers’ funerals, are arranged by councils when someone dies and has no traceable family, or when no one is able or willing to pay for a service.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council spent £3,149 on three public health funerals in 2018 to 2019, according to information obtained by the insurance company, Royal London.

The average cost for each was £1,050 – below the national average of £1,507.

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Royal London asked councils if they allow family members to attend a public health funeral – 14 said they do not. It also found that 21 councils do not return ashes to bereaved families after a cremation, and 18 charge for ashes to be returned, with fees varying between £10 and £18.

Councils included the cost of the urn and collection costs as reasons for the charge.

Nearly a third of families who had a public health funeral were unable to afford the cost of a private funeral.

Louise Eaton-Terry, funeral cost expert at the firm, said it is “incredibly sad” when bereaved families are forced to seek a public health funeral.

“But when some families are refused the ashes of their loved ones or are not even allowed to attend the funeral, it is clear that they are being treated unfairly,” she added.

“It’s about time the system was overhauled, and we’re calling for legislation on minimum standards for public health funerals to ensure everyone can, at the very least, attend a funeral and collect their loved one’s ashes.”

A Local Government Association spokesman said: “With local authorities facing challenging funding pressures, the increase in public health funerals is putting further pressure on council budgets, and driving them to limit the costs they incur in arranging these funerals.”