Help is on the way for hard up people in Dumbarton and the Vale who are worried about the rising costs of funerals.

A new funeral assistance payment is now available to people who claim certain benefits.

It is a move by the Scottish Government towards eradicating “funeral poverty” which has pushed one in seven families into debts of up to £1990. Anti-poverty charity Community Renewal, which started Caledonia Cremation with support from the Scottish Government, has welcomed the new fund.

Chief executive Paul McColgan said: “We have seen first-hand the terrible stress caused by rising funeral costs on many families and individuals.

“We have helped several clients whose loved ones have been lying in a morgue for months whilst they were turned away from funeral home after funeral home because they couldn’t afford the deposit required.

“In these instances, we collected the deceased and proceeded with the cremation without a deposit.”

Paul said the average cost of a funeral in Scotland is £3,537 and the amount of benefit starts with a flat fee of £700 and the maximum assistance is around £1400, leaving a shortfall of over £2000 for the basic funeral.”

Local MSP Jackie Baillie said: “The Funeral Support Payment will be welcome news for many people on low incomes who might struggle to meet the costs of a funeral.”

Anyone who is struggling to cover funeral costs can call Caledonia Cremation 03000 113 311 or visit their website