Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responds to a report published today by Royal London on a rise in UK cremation fees.
“Councils want to provide families grieving the loss of their loved ones with the best service they can but face significant pressures, including an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, as they seek to maintain or improve the standards the bereaved expect.
“Research shows that council fees account on average for less than a quarter of the overall cost of a cremation, and less than half that of a burial. To help address the financial pressure on families, some councils offer or are developing low cost funeral offers, often in partnership with local funeral directors.
“Council charges for burial and cremation services cover not only the cost of a plot or cremation, but also investment in chapels of rest, and grounds maintenance, as well as replacing and upgrading crematoria.
“With an increasing shortage of burial plots, particularly in London and the south-east, councils are left maintaining full or nearly full cemeteries which provide little income, and are having to invest more in cemetery infrastructure to address demand and provide the services bereaved families want.”
Notes to editors
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.