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Burial fees on the rise across Mid Devon
9:08am Friday 11th October 2013 in Devon
BEREAVED families face a major increase in the cost of burying their loved ones from next year.
Mid Devon District Council is increasing its fees for bereavement services by 10% from April, saying the rise is needed to help ensure its cemeteries service stays viable.
It means the cost of burying an adult will jump from £791 to £870.
Fees for putting up a headstone and adding an inscription will also be subject to the price rise.
Nearly half of England’s local authorities will run out of burial space within 20 years, according to a survey by the BBC, but Mid Devon District Council, which is responsible for cemeteries in Tiverton and Crediton, says it will not run out of room for 40 years.
Work to extend Tiverton cemetery, which was completed early this year, has helped, and the council has earmarked land next to the cemetery in Crediton to allow for an extension there, but with budgets stretched the council is struggling to meet the costs of these larger sites.
Open Spaces and Bereavement Services manager Adrian Cook told the Star: “Mid Devon identified the forthcoming lack of grave spaces about 12 years ago and decided to take action.
“This has proven to be the right decision and has ensured that Mid Devon now has burials space for at least 40 years.
“The Bereavement Services budget is currently £238,480, and the net cost is £136,600 with £101,880 income.
“The budget hasn’t been increased for several years, which makes it all a lot tighter.
“There was no increase in charges this year, and the reason for the 10% increase in next year’s budget is to offset the cost increases, such as fuel and salaries, to contribute towards the capital expenditure of the new cemetery extension and work to make bereavement services budget-neutral.”
Cullompton Town Council, which owns the cemetery in Tiverton Road, is also extending on to agricultural land and plans to review its prices soon.
A report by insurers Sun Life Direct shows the cost of dying in the UK increased by 7% last year with the average cost of a burial and funeral standing at £7,622 nationally.
Mel Rees, head of brand and public relations at Sun Life Direct, said: “The unsustainable nature of cemeteries is resulting in significant rises in the cost of burials.
“This often leaves families in a difficult position upon the death of a relative as they try to fulfil the wishes of the deceased, but find they’re financially unprepared.
“Almost one in five people who have organised a funeral in the past four years struggle to meet the cost, and something must be done as a matter of urgency before more families are unable to give their loved ones the send-off they deserve.”
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