Leeds: Increase of 3pc in ‘cost of dying’

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The cost of funerals in Leeds will go up by three per cent from April.

Leeds City Council is increasing its charges for burial and cremation services. The move will raise £171,000, which will go back into the bereavement services pot, as well as helping to fund and maintain the city’s war memorials.

Current charges for a 50-year burial plot and interment in Leeds are £2,076 for an adult. From April this year, the fees will go up to £2,138. Cremation fees for over 16s are currently £680, but will go up to £701.

It’s the third time in as many years that prices have gone up.

The council’s Parks and Countryside department manages three crematoria, 24 cemeteries and 22 closed churchyards. It deals with more than 5,000 cremations and 1,000 burials a year, making it the fifth busiest burial authority in the country.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We do not seek to make any profit from our bereavement charges. The charges for bereavement services allow us to offer a professional, sensitive service and also maintain memorials into the future. The importance of this will be underlined by the commemorations of World War I this year.”

A report just signed off by senior council officers says: “The increase in fees will enable the city council to meet its statutory obligations as a burial authority.” It adds the higher charges are “important in ensuring the sustainability of burial and cremation provision”.

The hike will partly help pay for a 50 per cent abatement of mercury emmissions from the city’s crematoria, something that has been made necessary by environmental legislation.

Despite the increases, there will still be cash help available for those in hardship. Where the departed has no family, or where a family is struggling, help will be available through social services, the hospital where the death occurred and funeral payments via the Department of Work and Pensions.

The YEP reported recently that more than 110 public health funerals were organised in Leeds in 2012, and more than 800 over a seven-year period. A recent study by the GMB union concluded the actual full cost of dying in Yorkshire was around £7,000. It also found Leeds topped the league table of most expensive Yorkshire cities to die and be buried or cremated in.

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