The cost of burying the dead in Preston is to rise from April, along with a host of other charges from the city council.Advertisement
Budgets are being lined up for the year ahead and Preston City Council is preparing a council tax rise along with an inflation-busting increase in cemetery costs.
Burial fees for a private grave for those who died aged 16 years or over will rise to just shy of £496, an 11.5 per cent increase.
To be buried more than 12 inches below the ground rises by 11.5 per cent – bringing the total cost to nearly £1,000.
If families wish to erect a monument to a loved one the fee rises from £134 to £149.50, an 11.6 per cent rise.
Preston Cemetery has faced criticism for the enforcing of rules on new graves, with thousands of people signing a petition causing the issue to be debated by the city council before Christmas.
Campaigner David Hudson said: “It’s upsetting to most that it’s shot up so high, some are disgusted, the cost of living to live now costs more when you die.”
Read more: These things in Preston just got more expensive in 2017
The city council has defended the rise in burial fees, and a proposed increase in council tax.
On burial fees the director of environment Adrian Phillips said: “Our Burial and Cremation Service is an important service for Preston. However, we have recently completed a resource review which made it clear that our objective for the service breaking even is not being met. The proposed increased charges are a logical result of this reality.
“We still believe that we provide very good value for money compared to many other authorities, and a quality service to residents.”
A two per cent rise in council tax is proposed, the maximum amount the city council can raise it by without triggering a referendum on the issue.
A council spokeswoman said: “We’ve worked really hard to keep any increases to a minimum, in fact some charges have been frozen. We believe they represent good value for money. Our priority is to retain the quantity and quality of our services to all our customers.”
Councillor Martyn Rawlinson has written extensively for Blog Preston about the financial state of the city council, outlining how by 2020 they’re likely to receive no direct grant from central government.
Any new charges would come into force in April this year.
What do you think about the proposed rises in council tax and other charges? Let us know your views in the comments below