Cost of burying loved ones in council graveyards may rise thirty percent
The cost of burying loved ones in council graveyards could jump to £2,163.70, after the authority announced it was looking at increasing burial fees from April.
Purchasing a grave in a council cemetery for 50 years may increase by 57 per cent in just over two months’ time, going from a fee of £691.27 to £1,089.70. Coupled with an internment fee of £1,074 - a hike of twelve per cent - the overall cost of burying someone will top £2,000 before funeral directors’ fees are paid for.
In March 2008 the 'News' reported the council had come under attack for increasing cremation fees twice in a year, in order to maximise revenue during 'peak demand periods'.
The opposition spokesman for Environment and Transport, Cllr Barrie Hargrove, has now criticised the latest rise in costs.
He said: "Southwark's Lib Dems have got form on price hikes for funerals; it was only two years ago that they decided to start putting prices up in January to "maximise the peak demand period". But the sheer scale of these increases is almost unbelievable.
"Ratcheting up the price of a fifty-year grave by over twenty times the rate of inflation is going to hit Southwark families just as they're trying to come to terms with the death of a loved one. The last thing they ought to be burdened with at that time is the worry of a gigantic bill from the council which could top £2000."
Internment fees at private graveyards will also rise, and from April the council is looking to charge £1,074, a rise of 31 per cent from the previous level.
A council spokeswoman said: "Burial fees increase at the same rate as other council fees and charges, and even with this increase Southwark Council is still one of the cheapest services in London."
The decision will go before the council executive next week for consideration for approval, before being implemented.