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Public Health funerals

Under The Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, local authorities are responsible for the disposal of deceased persons in their area, where no other arrangements have been made.

Reading Borough Council will, in these situations, arrange a cremation or burial; however, we are not automatically responsible for arranging a funeral where there are relatives or others willing to make the arrangements themselves.

For those with a low income or in receipt of certain benefits, help may be available from the social fund.

Alternatively, families can apply by phone: for claims call 0800 731 0469; to chase a payment, call 0800 169 0140.

If you should find yourself in this situation the first step is to contact the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) who will advise you on what help is available to you.

We suggest you contact at least three Funeral Directors and enquire the costs of a basic funeral as the prices may vary.

The funeral

In most cases a cremation will be arranged, however, if the deceased's religion forbids cremation, a burial may be considered. The funeral director will provide a hearse and bearers and the service will be conducted with dignity and respect. If appropriate, a minister or representative of the relevant faith can be arranged to conduct the service.

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