Cornish cost of death rises

Cornwall Council is set to double the cost of council burials, but local outrage has forced it to think again. Its plan is to standardise burial fees across Cornwall, but this means vast new increases in parts of the county hit worst by the recession, including Helston, Redruth, Camborne and Porthleven. The cost of burial in a new grave will rise from £614 to £1,305, while the cost of cremation is going up by £164 to £650.

But local funeral directors and councillors have complained, one saying: ‘Cornwall historically is a very low income county and it’s difficult enough for most of our families to afford the costs as they are now—I think it’s grossly unfair.’ In response, Cornwall Council is holding off on the death price hike - for now.

In the meantime, as Helston Town Council is cutting back on its expenditure on public services, it has been caught continuing to spend taxpayers’ money on unnecessary council jaunts. In the face of apparent austerity, the Cornish town council is spending £2,000 on sending four councillors and one town clerk to a six-hour arbitration and conciliation training conference in Cardiff, including an overnight stay. The training is non-essential and local alternatives are available, including free HR law updates at Truro College.

‘In these austere times we must act accordingly and try and get the best value for our training spend,’ complains Helston’s former town mayor Naill Devenish. ‘I think that this sends the wrong signal at this time. How can you justify spending nearly two thirds as much per councillor as was cut for spending on the Mayor’s Flora Day lunch, justified to me because it is “immoral to have people eating at taxpayers’ expense”. Yet we will pay a lot more for a group of councillors to stay at a hotel.’

In an email to fellow councillors, Devenish warned them that he could see newspaper headlines criticising, ‘Town council spend £2,125 on jolly to Wales’. He’s not wrong there!

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