Increases in crematorium charges has been branded ‘scandalous’ and a ‘Tory plan to rip off the bereaved’.
The Isle of Wight Council budget last week raised crematorium and cemetery charges by seven per cent — increasing the cost of some cremations to over £1,000.
Hutchinson: Huge pressures on those facilities during the pandemic
Speaking at the budget meeting, cabinet member for strategic resources, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson said the council must provide a ‘high quality and reliable service’ but to do that requires income.
“We have seen huge pressures on those facilities during the pandemic. We will review and benchmark the costs so they are in line with good quality providers elsewhere — we don’t want to be the highest cost but we won’t provide a lesser service.”
Cabinet member for community safety, Cllr Gary Peace, said seven per cent sounds like a lot, but it only kept the council at the average level across the south east of England.
Garratt: Scandalous to think we would put up charges at this time
Opposition councillors, Andrew Garratt, Lib Dem, and Geoff Brodie, independent Labour, had proposed only raising charges by two per cent, keeping in line with inflation.
Cllr Garratt said the increase was “just completely wrong. It is scandalous to think we would put up the charges at this time,” he said.
Brodie: “Tory plan to rip off the bereaved”
Cllr Brodie said to view the seven per cent increase as ‘not a lot’ was “typical of the lack of connection to ordinary people the Conservative Party have” and called the rise a “Tory plan to rip off the bereaved” which was “morally indefensible”.
The new charges
Prices will increase for a standard cremation from £863 to £924, a direct cremation (with no service and no attendees) from £450 to £482 and the cost of a cremation including the use of the organ and organist with a biodegradable urn from £943 to £1,009.
The price of interment for an adult would increase from £1,135 to £1,215 and cremated remains from £314 to £335.
A full space for a burial will increase to £852 from £796 and for a half space an extra £31, to £471 from £440.
The new prices will come into place from 1st April, the start of the 2021/22 financial year.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may have been made by OnTheWight. Ed