New figures have revealed the cost of dying in Leeds is among the highest in the country.
A comparison of the biggest cities outside London shows Leeds is the third most expensive place to be buried and the most expensive to be cremated.
And from the beginning of this month, those costs have risen by a further four per cent as Leeds City Council tries to plug a £375,000 budget shortfall in its bereavement services.
The news comes as the YEP can reveal there have been over 860 ‘pauper’s funerals’ since 2007 as people die alone or in poverty and families struggle to cope with soaring funeral costs.
But that number is likely to be higher as figures available for the last 13 months only include those organised by the local authority.
Public health funerals are also organised by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.
A league table comparing eight key cities in the UK – Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – shows that Leeds’ £748 cremation fee was highest of them all. The city’s £2,138 charge for a new burial was the third highest – behind Manchester’s £2,655 and Birmingham’s £3,690. Leeds also topped the table – published in a Leeds City Council report– for the cost of an entry into the authority’s book of remembrance, at £302 - more than Birmingham’s £209 and Manchester’s £180.
But at the end of January this year, senior officers at Leeds City Council signed off a four per cent increase on these burial and cremation costs, which came into effect on February 1, to raise £235,000 towards the service’s £375,000 budget shortfall.
A Leeds City Council spokesman said comparing costs between cities is difficult due to varying services offered and stressed support remains for those in financial hardship.
He said: “Leeds City Council is committed to providing the best bereavement service possible, and has invested £5m in recent years to create a new cemetery at Whinmoor, as well as improvements at Garforth, Kippax, Lawnswood, Cottingley and Rawdon. While we’ve worked to keep increases as low as possible, the service requires a significant subsidy by taxpayers which in line with the council’s difficult overall budget position needs to be addressed.”