Massive hikes in the costs of burials and cremations in Hyndburn have been criticised as a ‘death tax’.
Hyndburn council’s cabinet has approved measures to increase burial charges by a third from £525 to £700, and also raise the cost of cremations by £50 to £625.
It means cremation charges will have risen by £268 since 2010, an increase of 75 per cent in five years.
Council bosses insist the charges bring the borough into line with other authorities following the removal of subsidies.
But former Hyndburn mayor Paul Barton, owner of Barton and Hallworth Funeral Services in Accrington, has hit out at the price hikes.
He said: “It’s taxing the dead, it’s absolutely disgraceful.
“Putting burials and cremations up by that much is a big blow.
“When I was on the council it was always out policy to never tax the dead.”
Councillors have also approved plans to spend £650,000 of capital funds on replacing cremators at Accrington Cemetery and building a new cemetery for people in Great Harwood and Rishton.
Conservative group leader Coun Tony Dobson said: “It begs the question is Hyndburn too expensive to die in?”
“These costs keep going up at a time when families are grieving.
“I think it’s extremely unfair, unreasonable and to be a bit political, it’s typical of Labour. They will add charges wherever possible.
“It’s not acceptable to keep putting up the costs for people who are living in the borough and especially at a time when they are suffering.”
The council is also proposing to raise the cost of exclusive rights to burial from £700 to £800.
Anyone over 18 may purchase the exclusive right to have burials in any private grave for a period of 100 years.
Coun Ken Moss, cabinet member for cemeteries, said the council’s charges were not out of step with neighbouring local authorities.
He added: “Five years ago we were able to heavily subsidise this service, but now with the current financial pressures we face due to cuts to our funding from government, unfortunately we are no longer able to provide this subsidy.”
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