Funeral charges, which have gone up by more than £100 in just nine months, have been branded a ‘death tax’.
Hyndburn Council has announced an immediate increase in the cost of funerals with cremation prices rising by £48 to £468 and burial prices rising £50 to £400.
Added to the price hikes, announced under the previous council in January, the cost of an adult cremation has risen by £111 or 31 per cent since last December, while burials cost £67 more, a hike of 20 per cent.
The rises have been condemned – but council bosses say they are just bringing Hyndburn’s historically low prices in line with elsewhere.
Conservative leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said: "We have heard about the cost of living going up but it just proves even the cost of dying is going up.
"It’s deplorable to introduce what can only be described as a death tax and it will place an extra burden on families when they don’t need it."
Darren Ramsbottom, owner of Oswaldtwistle Funeral Services, said: "A lot of families in this day and age have pre-payment plans and are insured – but those who have nothing – that’s where the cost increases will hurt."
Mourners at Accrington Crematorium also attacked the increases.
Ann-Marie McKenna, 44, from Accrington said: "I think it’s wrong, definitely. They should find ways of reducing the cost or keeping it at the same level. My dad died in 2000 and my mum died in 2007 and it was a lot cheaper then."
Elsie Healey, 63, from Accrington added: "It’s expensive to start with without adding to the cost and adding to people’s misery.
"At the time you are not aware and you just pay it because that’s how much it is and when you are grieving it’s the last thing on your mind."
The purchase of burial rights has also risen under the new fees list to £520. All other fees in the current list remain the same.
Coun Munsif Dad, cabinet member for cemeteries said: "As a council we have traditionally offered the lowest cremation and burial costs in Lancashire.
"However, like most other councils across the country, we are facing increased costs which means that we must increase our prices to bring us in line with the rest of Lancashire and allow us to maintain our current high standards in our cemeteries and cremation services."