Fury as burial charges set to rise for second time in less than a year
GRIEVING families are to be hit hard as the cost of burials and cremations will rise for the second time in less than a year.
Funeral directors have branded the increase “absolutely disgusting”.
North East Lincolnshire Council has announced the cost of a standard burial will increase by 44 per cent, while a cremation will be 18 per cent more expensive from September 1.
A burial, which currently costs £845.50, will increase to £1,225, while a cremation will rise from £510.50 to £602.50.
It will be the second increase in less than a year as prices were already hiked in April.
Steven Near, of Near And Near Undertakers, which has branches in Grimsby and Immingham, said: “I think it is absolutely diabolical. The council is preying on people when they are at the lowest points in their lives.
“It puts people over a barrel because they have no option but to pay for either a burial or cremation for their loved one.
“Not many people will want the travel costs and upheaval of travelling elsewhere to avoid the costs.”
Approved by the council’s Cabinet earlier this month, the changes mean residents and non-residents of North East Lincolnshire will now pay the same for cremations. There will still be separate fees for burials, costing £1,225 for residents and £1,750 for non-residents, with a view to move to a single fee in the future.
As reported, the council operates Grimsby Crematorium and two cemeteries – Scartho Road, Grimsby, and Beacon Avenue, Cleethorpes.
Councillor Peter Wheatley, portfolio holder for regeneration and environment, said the increases are “regrettable” but “unavoidable.”
He added: “The increase in the cost of cremations and burials has been brought about due to rising inflation, running costs and a national reduction in mortality rates.
“We have also managed to keep these costs low in comparison to other local authorities in our region but we unfortunately have to make difficult decisions, and this is one of them.”
North Lincolnshire Council charges £550 for an adult cremation and £1,390 for a burial.
Councillor Wheatley added that “dramatic improvements” are being made to Grimsby Crematorium, in Weelsby Road, by the authority.
However, Mr Near says the work, which began in April, has left the crematorium in a very poor condition.
“The state it is in is unacceptable,” he added.
“There is nowhere for people to sit or wait if the weather is poor.
“How the council can increase the costs when the service they are providing isn’t up to scratch is beyond me.
“I’d like to think the extra revenue will be spent on improving the crematorium and cemeteries but I bet it won’t, it will just go straight to the council coffers.”
Chris Robinson, funeral services manager at Near and Near, added: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting because people have no option but to bear the additional cost.
“There should have been some consultation or negotiation but we’ve heard absolutely nothing. The prices will go up again in April which is ridiculous.”