Cost of living pushes up cost of dying in Preston

The cost of dying is going up in Preston due to the cost of living.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 3:45 pm
Burials and cremations in Preston to cost more,
Burials and cremations in Preston to cost more,

The city council has approved a four per cent increase in fees for burials and cremations because of soaring inflation.

Following the annual review of charges it will now cost £576 for a standard burial in Preston cemetery and £792 to be cremated from April.

Council bosses say that unless they up prices the service will be running at a loss.

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Council admits price rises will impact the less well-off.

But they add that some of the extra income will go into a reserve fund to pay for future investments like new burial grounds and replacement cremators.

The new charges, which come in on April 1, mean the cost of interment in the council-owned cemetery will have risen by almost 30 per cent since 2016 - the same increase as a committal at the city's crematorium.

Six years ago it cost bereaved families £445 to bury their loved one in Preston, but that figure will now be £576. Cremations cost £612 in 2016, but in 2022/23 they will be £792.

The council has approved the new rates and says that the four per cent increase is meant to cover the "estimated increase in cost due to inflation."

It will cost more in April to be buried at Preston Cemetery.

A report by a top council officer admits the extra charges will hit the less well-off.

But it adds: "Any increases in fees and charges will inevitably have some negative impact on people on low incomes.

"However this has to be balanced against the need for the council to maximise its income in order to maintain the quantity and quality of its services to all its customers.

"The increase of four per cent enables the cemetery and crematorium service to continue to set aside a surplus for any funding that will be required in the future, eg replacement cremators.

Prices at the city's council-run crematorium will also be going up.

"The continuation of the fees and charges set at the current level would result in a comparative net loss to the council due to increased costs."

The increase is similar to recent years, although in 2017 the council put its prices up by a staggering 11 per cent for the service.

The new charges for over-16s include:

Burial - Standard £576. Weekends and Bank Holidays supplement £286. Brick vault burial £654. Woodland burial £576. Grave with exclusive rights of burial for 75 years £1,013. Permission to erect monument £173.

Cremations - Standard £792. Weekends and Bank Holidays supplement £286. Chapel time overrun £281. Burial of cremated remains in crematorium memorial park £109.

One price is being reduced where relatives opt for a "Direct Cremation" which involves no mourners and is carried out at the first slot of the day. The price is coming down from £658 to £450.

The report explains: " A direct cremation is carried out at the 9.15am slot, with no attendance from the family. The 9.15am slot is rarely used for cremations which have a full service.

"The use of direct cremations has seen an increase over the last few years, as families look for a low-cost alternative to a standard cremation, looking to mark the passing of a loved one via something other than a service at the crematorium.

"In the UK 10% of all UK cremations are now direct, with locally a figure of six to nine per cent. Last year the council's proportion was less than one per cent."