Families hit by £30 cremation price rise
GRIEVING families are facing a £30 rise in the cost of cremating their loved ones.
Mourners using Bradwell Crematorium will have to find an extra £27 for the cremation fee, while the extra 'environmental charge' is going up by £3.
It takes the total cost from £581 to £611 – an increase of five per cent and will come into force from April.
The cremation environmental charge was introduced last year to comply with new 'green' laws.
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Newcastle Borough Council had to install £800,000 worth of equipment after environmental legislation was brought in to reduce mercury emissions.
The charge will go up from £55 to £58 this year, on top of the new cremation fee of £553 – up from £526. There are no charges for the cremation of under 16s.
Councillor Elsie Bates, Newcastle Borough Council's cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: "The borough council reviews fees and charges every year to keep them in line with increases in the cost of providing services.
"Many charges have been frozen or reduced this year while others have increased generally by two per cent to take inflation into account.
"In the past few years the council has invested heavily in bereavement services. It has built a new cemetery at Keele which cost £2.7 million and spent £1 million on refurbishing Bradwell Crematorium.
"It must also plan for expenditure on replacement and repairs to equipment and facilities in order to protect the long-term future of the service."
Charges for other services at the crematorium will also rise, including a £2 increase on the £67 cost of an oak casket, and the price of a memorial tree rising by £15, from £524 to £539.
However, the price of a memorial seat will be reduced by £430 – from £1,030 to £600 – to encourage sales.
Internment fees for adults at the borough council's cemeteries are set to increase from £700 to £735, while the cost of buying a lawn grave will rise by £47 to £991.
Cremations at neighbouring Carmountside Crematorium currently cost £510, which includes a 30 minute service. Stoke-on-Trent City Council said fees covering cremations and cemeteries were under review.
Tim McGough, president of the Stoke-on-Trent and District Funeral Directors' Association, said: "Everyone is having to increase fees with energy prices going up, but we hope the authority will keep prices as low as they can, because it's a service they are providing to the people of the Newcastle and beyond.
"Stoke-on-Trent didn't put their fees up last year, so Bradwell became more expensive for the first time. People are now struggling to cover the cost of funerals."