Cost of living is rising, but so is cost of dying

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The cost of dying in Preston looks set to rise dramatically, with families already under financial pressure.

The Lancashire Post yesterday revealed the soaring cost of living across the county, with the cost of funerals now also set for a major hike.

Preston Council bosses are expected to sign off proposals to increase costs around cremations and burials by more than 11 per cent, taking a cremation to £683 and a burial to £496.

And while funeral directors say Preston Council fees will still be lower than many private crematoria, they say families are already struggling to meet the costs.

Funeral director Neal Buckley said a typical funeral cost between £3,000 and £4,000 and said, even with the increased charges, funerals in Preston would be on a par or cheaper than in private crematoria or cemeteries.

He said: “It is going the way now where people are wanting things as simple as possible.

“People are not going into churches much, they are trying to keep things simple and that keeps the cost down.

“It used to be a big thing, everybody would have a policy and save so much for their own funeral, but people don’t save any more.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s exclusive to the funeral industry, I think in general people are just not looking to save or put some money aside for a rainy day.

“I think people don’t realise those costs are going up every year, and it’s not just the crematorium costs, every year the manufacturers costs go up, every year the doctors’ fees go up, every year we are having to pay our more and more and we are trying to keep our own costs as low as we can.”

Coun Martyn Rawlinson, Preston Council’s cabinet member for resources, explained savings and changes proposed for the council to manage massive budget cuts.

He said: “We’ve had a policy of maximising income from our fees and charges except in a couple of services, one being cemetery and crematorium fees where we have always been below average against other councils.”

But he said there could now be a “more significant rise”, to “bring the service to a cost-neutral position because we can no longer subsidise it”.

He said: “The proposal will bring the service to a break-even point.”
The service is classed as “discretionary”, meaning the council doesn’t have to provide it.

Coun Rawlinson said: “We will never make a profit from that service, we don’t want to, that would be horrible and we feel we should be subsidising it but we just can’t any more.

“Costs are going up and we need to recover them.”

Adrian Phillips, director of environment for Preston Council, said: “Our burial and cremation service is an important service for Preston.

“However, we have recently completed a resource review which made it clear that our objective for the service breaking even is not being met. The proposed increased charges are a logical result of this reality.

“We still believe that we provide very good value for money compared to many other authorities, and a quality service to residents.”

The new fees and charges are set to be brought in on April 1, and will come into force on Tuesday unless they are called in, after being approved by deputy leader Coun John Swindells.

Patricia Varty, whose mother Rose Mary Donnelly is buried in the cemetery, said the price increases would come as a shock to many families.

She said: “I think the increases will affect people a lot.

“Luckily for me, my mum had insurance and it covered just over half and then we clubbed together to pay for the rest.

“But I think that’s going to be a shock to a lot of people, it’s a massive increase.”

Fees and charges are to increase at Preston’s crematorium and cemetery.

Burial fee in a private grave for somebody over 16:

from £445 to £496.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Surcharge for anyone not a resident of Preston at the time of death, unless they had been a resident within the previous 12 months:

From £445 to £496.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Each additional coffin depth after 6’ for existing graves.

From £184 to £205.

An increase of 11.4 per cent

Burial fee in a private grave in a casket to a depth of 6’, for somebody over 16.

From £506 to £564.00.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Each additional casket depth after 6’ for existing graves.

From £261 to £291.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Burial of a casket in a brick vault (plus charge for brick work).

From £506 to £564.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Burial fee in a private grave in the woodland burial section.

From £445 to £496.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Internment of cremated remains in an existing grave.

From £84 to £93.50.

An increase of 11.3 per cent

Burial fee in a public grave in a standard coffin to a depth of 6’ for someone over 16.

From £445 to £496.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Purchase of Exclusive Right of Burial for a term of 75 years.

From £784 to £874.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Monument Fees (Permission to erect)

Trom £134 to £149.50.

An increase of 11.6 per cent

Registration of Stonemasons

From £56 to £62.50.

An increase of 11.6 per cent

Purchase of Exclusive Right of Burial in a Cremated Remains grave space.

From £312 to £348.

An increase of 11.5 per cent

Grave Search Year 1885 to 1921.

From £12.60 to £14.

An increase of 11.1 per cent

Grave Search Year 1921 to 1995.

From £6.90 to £7.70.

An increase of 11.6 per cent

Cremations

Cremations - Where the age of the deceased exceeds 16 years:

From £612 to £683. An increase of 11.6 per cent

Cremations - Weekend and Public Holiday Committal supplement.

From £223 to £248.

An increase of 11 per cent

Chapel Time Overrun 
Charge : £243

Additional Chapel Time (prior arrangement discounted price) From £145 to £162.

An increase of 12 per cent

Temporary deposit of cremated remains (per month after first month)

From £24 to £27. An increase of 13 per cent

Burial fee for the cremated remains in the memorial park at the crematorium.

From £84 to £93.50. An increase of 11 per cent