PAUPERS' funerals cost Oxford City Council more than £10,000 last year, new figures have revealed.

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 organise and pay for a service.

Oxford City Council spent £11,895 on nine public health funerals in 2018-19, according to information obtained by the insurance company Royal London via Freedom of Information requests.

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It means the average cost was £1,322 – a slight decrease below the national average of £1,507.

In total, the 383 councils across the UK that responded spent £6.3 million on more than 4,000 funerals over the period.

Royal London asked councils if they allow family members to attend a public health funeral – 14 out of the 383 councils in the UK said they do not, with reasons given including that there is no service to attend.

It also found that 21 councils by default 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 for the urn or the collection cost.

Nearly a third of the paupers' funerals were because bereaved families were unable to afford the cost of a private funeral.