50 'paupers' funerals' organised by Shropshire Council at cost of £95,000

Shropshire Council has organised 50 funerals in the past three years for people with no relatives able or willing to do so.

The council said it had organised 50 'paupers funerals' in the past three years.
The council said it had organised 50 'paupers funerals' in the past three years.

Figures show the authority paid £95,000 for the ceremonies, historically known as ‘pauper’s funerals’, between January 2019 and December 2021.

The money can be claimed back from the estate of the deceased person, but the council has not revealed how much, if any, it has been able to recover in each case.

Health boards and local authorities have a legal duty under the Public Health Act to carry out cremations and burials in cases where no arrangements are being made by family members.

When a person with no next of kin dies in hospital, responsibility falls on the hospital trust.

Shropshire Council steps in when deaths occur within its boundary, outside of hospital.

Newly published data shows the council organised 16 cremations in 2021, carried out at Emstrey Crematorium in Shrewsbury, along with one burial.

In 2020 there were 13 cremations and two burials, and in 2019 there were 16 cremations and two burials.

The council’s policy is to organise a cremation unless it is known that the deceased person had expressed a wish for a burial.

Of the 50 people to receive public health funerals in Shropshire in the last three years, 30 were men, 19 were women and one was a baby girl aged under one year old.

In the majority of cases the council has been able to identify living relatives, however six people died with no known family. Only one estate has been referred to the Government’s legal department.

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