Row at council as the cost of burials increases

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 07 March 2014 Updated: 07/03 09:45

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COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of hurting bereaved families by increasing costs associated with burying loved ones.

Conservative group leader Juliet Brunner hit out at rises in costs such as a 100 per cent increase in the cost of a memorial service where the cremation has taken place elsewhere - from £125 to £250 - and a 75 per cent increase in the cost of a remembrance card - from £20 to £35.

She said they were at odds with the council’s claim their fees and charges had gone up by an average of three per cent and suggested council leader Bill Hartnett should ‘retake his maths test’.

“You’ve clearly done this because you’ve raided the reserves, the money we had put by for new cremators, replacing vehicles and repairing buildings,” she told a recent full council meeting.

“Now you are taxing grieving and bereaved families, making them carry an extra burden. It’s a shameful additional charge on bereaved families. The very people you purport to want to help are being hurt by these above inflation rises.”

It comes just two weeks after the Standard reported Studley Parish Council had increased the costs of their burial services after finding borough residents were coming over the border to be buried as their charges were much lower than Redditch’s.

But Coun Bill Hartnett said despite some charges being increased more than three per cent, that was the average rise across all of the fees set by the council.

“We can all play games like you are playing tonight. There is no need for me to sit my maths exam again, the overall figure is three per cent. Some have gone up, some have gone down, but the overall charge is three per cent.”

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