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Bereavement costs set for massive hike.

Byline: Brendan Hughes

BEREAVED families in South Wales face alarming costs as one council proposes more than doubling its burial charges in the next five years.

Caerphilly council is set to increase its burial and cremation costs by a huge 18.5% every year for the next five years - on top of inflation.

It would mean the typical cost of burying one adult in a new plot would soar to pounds 2,437, excluding inflation.

This year-on-year price surge would represent an increase of more than 133% over a five-year period.

The proposals are to be discussed at Caerphilly council's next cabinet meeting tomorrow afternoon at 2pm.

Mike Headington, principal officer foroutdoorfacilitiesand bereavement services, said in the cabinet report: "Bereavement Services is one of the more sensitive frontline services provided by the council. "Currently the service delivers very high standards but recovers from fees only 60% of the costs it incurs. In order to maintain service standards and deliver the priorities of the Task and Finish Group an increase in fees is needed." Comparisons between councilsby the Echo show burial and cremation costs across South Wales are at surprising levels.

Cardiff council is the most costly, with families suffering the loss of a loved one forced to fork out more than pounds 1,963.50 for a typical burial. Bereavement in Bridgend came second on the list at pounds 1,196 for burying one adult in a new grave.

Councils charge for burials based on three main areas - purchasing a plot, gravedigging (known as interment) and memorial headstones or other tributes. Some councils also offer genealogy searches and woodland burials.

Mark Sims, finance officer for Barry Town Council, who hasbeeninvolvedin discussing burial costs for the Vale of Glamorgan area, said: "If anybody questions our price increases, we like to say that we can qualify why we are increasing the fees."

Caerphilly council said it would not comment on the plans until after tomorrow's cabinet meeting.

A spokeswoman said: "We wouldn't want to pre-empt a decision. After the cabinet have considered the report, we'll be in a better position to make a statement."

A spokeswoman for Cardiff council said: "The council is fully aware of the financial pressures local authorities are facing and has planned over a number of years howto deliver a self-sufficient bereavement service through moderate annual increases in line with its own financial strategy that has also allowed for considerable improvements in the service .

"As the council will continue to invest in the bereavement service and provide adequate spaces for burial there will bea need for reasonable increases to the charges in the future."

THE RISING COST OF YOUR FINAL JOURNEY Typical cost of burying one adult in a new, unselected burial plot for residents in each local authority area: Local authority Exclusive right of burial Interment Memorial Total Cost Cardiff pounds 645 pounds 495 pounds 823.50 pounds 1,963.50 Bridgend Caerphilly (current) Vale of Glam Rhondda CT Merthyr pounds 729 pounds 331 pounds 136 pounds 1,196 pounds 236 pounds 640 pounds 167 pounds 1,043 pounds 441 pounds 305 pounds 173 pounds 919 pounds 337 pounds 337 pounds 166 pounds 840 pounds 395 pounds 310 pounds 85 pounds 790 How costs in Caerphilly council could increase (excluding inflation): Current Cost Cost in one year Cost in two years Cost in three years Cost in four years Cost in five years pounds 1,043 pounds 1235 pounds 1,464 pounds 1,735 pounds 2,056 pounds 2,437
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 6, 2011
Words:583
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