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Bradford Council has spent nearly £520,000 on 'pauper's funerals' since 2014

BRADFORD Council has spent nearly £520,000 on 'pauper's funerals' in the district since 2014, figures reveal.

The past year saw the highest number of such funerals, officially known as public health funerals, held since 2014-15. This meant the Council spent nearly £50,000 more than in the previous year, an increase of nearly 70 per cent.

These types of funerals are arranged by local authorities for people who have died and have no known relatives to arrange or pay for their funeral, or have relatives who do not want to, or are unable to arrange, their funeral.

In these circumstances, councils have a responsibility to arrange a funeral for the person who has died and must ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.

In 2014-15, Bradford Council arranged 84 funerals at a cost of £102,950; 53 in 2015-16 at a cost of £64,869 and 39 in 2016-17 at a cost of £46,722.

In 2017-18, 47 public health funerals were organised at a cost of £63,516; 36 in 2018-19 which cost a total of £55,994; 52 in 2019-20 which cost £67,902 and 77 in 2020-21, with the cost surging to £115,063.

Since 2014, 276 funerals organised by Bradford Council have been for men and 107 have been for women. A total of 117 were for people aged between 18 and 59, while 270 were for people aged 60 and above. One, in 2017-18, was for a child aged 0 to 17. The majority of people were cremated.

Bradford Council says: "We have a duty to dispose of a deceased body under the provisions of the National Assistance and Public Health (Control of Disease) Acts 1948, if the person who died has no assets or if there are no relatives who can make funeral arrangements.

"Hospitals and care homes may also be able to help if the person dies while in their care. Initial contact is usually through the coroner.

"If the next of kin is known, contact will be made to establish if they will accept responsibility. Legal responsibility for married couples rests with the spouse, and for children it rests with the parents."

A basic funeral is provided and does not cover things like flowers and transport.

"Where no one is prepared to accept responsibility for the funeral, we will require details of the deceased assets and receiver the costs if there are sufficient funds available," the Council says.