Funeral costs and, increasingly, inheritance tax put huge financial strain on bereaved relatives, and now a leading Stafford funeral director has complained to the Staffordshire Newsletter about the 100% inflation in charges from burial and cremation agreed by the borough council.
Chris Emery of William Emery and sons is quoted saying that families are being ‘priced out’ and ‘penalised for their loved ones dying’.
The increases, approved by a full meeting of Stafford Borough Council on Tuesday, see the cost of burying an adult in a private grave climb from £299 to £570 (90.6% rise) and non-private grave costs go up from £330 to £620 (87.9% rise). This is on top of charges already doubling over the last five years.
The funeral director said that these charges have to be passed on to the customer, and at Tixall Road cemetery include a doubling in the cost of memorial tablets which will now be priced at £434.
This is another cost levied upon those who have little choice as to whether they pay or not. To hit grieving families with hugely inflated charges is an insensitive way of councils making some income, and unfortunately these methods are mirrored around the country, with prices rising dramatically above inflation for a service that has not, and indeed cannot, significantly improve.
Like many other government charges, this increase hits those who can’t afford it. Burying a relative isn’t and shouldn’t be a luxury, but if councils continue to drive up these costs year on year they run the risk of denying families a dignified farewell for their loved ones. It is time local authorities stopped dreaming up new ways to line their pockets, and showed some consideration.