Hike in burial fees when families are struggling to cope with rising costs
10:51am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Skipper
NOW I am used to councils attempting to bury bad news news, but this week we have been treated to something slightly different – bad news about burying.
Death is a subject matter many of us avoid, but is one of life’s only inevitabilities, and, like it or not, we all have to make plans for what happens when our time is finally up.
Cornwall Council assumed responsibility for looking after the fees and charges associated with burial and cremation when the six district councils were merged into the unitary authority back in 2009.
They inherited a mish-mash of different charges, with how much you paid for your burial or cremation seemingly a post-code lottery.
Understandably, the top bods at the authority looked at the situation, and thought, we need to sort this problem out as it is not fair for the people of Cornwall.
So far, so good.
Sadly, and almost inevitably, that was where the clever thinking ran out, as what most people’s idea of fair is, and what New County Hall’s idea of fair is are seemingly radically different.
Now most of us would see some people paying £620 and others paying up to £958 for the same service and think; ‘we should introduce an average rate here’.
Instead, those wonderful thinkers in the council’s ruling cabinet seem to have thought; ‘hey, we should raise the charges for everyone!’ Each and every time a plot is bought and used for internment, it will cost £1,000, a four per cent increase for those currently paying the higher fees, and a stunning 61 per cent increase for the hardest hit.
At a time when most families are struggling to cope with rising costs and frozen or reduced wages, it is truly breathtaking.
Their idea of fairness is to be unfair to everybody, because that way no one can accuse them of favouritism.
The last thing a grieving family needs is to face rising costs of burials.
This is not only a badly timed change, it is simply a bad idea. By all means make the charges fairer across the board, but don’t use it as an opportunity to hike up charges for everyone.