SNP MP Stewart McDonald has said the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into the funerals industry “does not go far enough” in protecting consumers from rogue pre-paid funeral plans.
Following the CMA’s publication of a summary of issues on its investigation into funerals, the MP for Glasgow South has raised concerns that standard, sale and marketing of pre-paid funeral plans are largely omitted from the investigation, which could result in families remaining out of pocket and unscrupulous companies pocketing a hefty profit as a result.
Commenting, Stewart McDonald said:
“Whilst it is welcome that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are conducting an investigation into the funerals industry, I am sorry to say it does not go far enough.
“It is extremely disappointing that the provision of, regulatory framework for and financial activities of pre-paid funeral plans and their providers are largely excluded from the scope of the investigation.
“The CMA’s justification for excluding pre-paid funeral plans because it risks duplicating the Treasury’s current considerations is just unacceptable – especially given the fact the Treasury have not provided an update on its work on pre-paid funeral plans since July last year.
“I also find it utterly baffling that the CMA have set a deadline of July 2020 for a full report on the funerals industry to be published. This timescale is way too long, which risks leaving even more consumers falling victim to dodgy pre-paid funeral plans whilst the CMA investigation is ongoing.
“Whilst funeral plans can be an effective way of planning for the future and very many providers operate with very high standards, more consideration must be given to the standards, sale and marketing of such plans.
“I am already liaising with consumers, third sector organisations, funeral directors and pre-paid funeral plan providers to see what more can be done, thus ensuring people are no longer left out of pocket and that they receive the very highest standard of service from their pre-paid funeral plan provider that they expect.”