Thousands of pounds were spent in Kettering last year for "paupers 'funerals", and families were unable or unwilling to pay the costs of their loved ones' arrangements.

The Kettering Borough Council spent a total of £ 5,282 on public health funerals in the 2017/18 fiscal year. This emerges from a request of the Freedom of Information of the mutual insurer Royal London.

The Local Government Association said there are thousands of people across the country "with no family or friends to take care of them or arrange, attend or pay for their funeral".

Public health funerals, also known as paupers' funerals, are local services provided by local authorities. These generally include a coffin and the services of a funeral director, but no flowers, obituaries or transport for family members. Families can participate if they wish.

In Kettering two were performed in 2017-18.

According to Royal London, which received responses from 275 local authorities, the total cost of public health funeral services in 2017 and 18 was over £ 5 million.

Last year, more than 3,800 such burials were made across the UK, costing the Councils an average of £ 1,403.

Nearly a third (31%) of families who turned to their local council for a public health funeral did so because they could not pay the bill, Royal London noted.

The mutual insurer said the average cost of a basic funeral was £ 3,757.

Other reasons for public health funerals were that the deceased had no family and families were not prepared to pay for the funeral.

Despite the provision of more public health burials in 2017 and 18, spending by the Kettering Borough Council fell by 51% compared to 2016 to 17.

Louise Eaton-Terry, a funeral cost bureauer at Royal London, said, "More support is needed to help those struggling with funeral costs."

A LGA spokesman said: "Public funerals are a last resort, but if there is no one to pay for a funeral, the councils will be respectful and dignified.

"The councils will try to find out if the deceased had any religious requirements to fulfill his wishes regarding burial or cremation."

He added, "The increase in these funerals puts additional pressure on the excessively large Council budgets they pay."

He said the numbers also do not take into account the burials paid by the NHS when people die in hospital.