MORE than 100 people in Exeter have been buried at public expense in the past five years.
And at least two of those so interred left estates of over £500,000.
The city council steps in when no other arrangements have been made and this happened with regard to 111 people since 2008
A spokesman for the council said: “The service does not cost the council anything as we have negotiated with the Treasury Solicitor a sum that covers our expenses.”
As a general rule such funerals cost under £1,000 for the transport of the body by hearse, coffin, officiant and burial or cremation.
On some occasions only funeral directors and council officials are in attendance at the graveside.
A spokesman for poverty charity Oxfam said: “It is very sad to see the poorest in our society hardest hit.
“We need to see income being distributed more fairly if we are to make any impact on reducing levels of poverty.
“If we carry on down this path the UK will return to inequality not seen since Victorian times.”
The term pauper’s funeral relates to a beneficiary of the Poor Laws which were repealed in 1948, the term is therefore meaningless today and regarded as offensive.
The term now mostly used is Public Health Funeral as it is the Public Health Act 1984 that charges local authorities with carrying out funerals “where no other arrangements are being made”.
One such funeral was held for Paul Davison, 48, who lay dead in his Exeter flat for more than a month before his body was discovered.by police.
Mr Davidson received a pubklic health funeral at Topsham Cemetery Chapel under public health provisions
Such funerals are arranged by the city council through a funeral director who usually approaches the appropriate minister if the deceased is of a particular religious denomination. A humanist funeral orator took the funeral.”
He had lived alone at Rydell Mews, part of the old Redhills Hospital building.
His Yahama motorbike was later sold to help cover the cost of his funeral