Council set to raise crematorium fees by £150

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A PROPOSED £150 increase on the cost of cremations in Boston has been slated as nothing more than an opportunist tax on death.

Boston Borough Council plans to push up the price of funerals by £100 from April in a bid to fund new cremators at the crematorium and increase it by a further £50 next year in order to bring the cost of services in line with neighbouring facilities.

When the matter was discussed by the authority’s environment and performance committee on Wednesday, the proposals were described by Coun Paul Goodale as an ‘extra burden’ at a time when people were at their most vulnerable.

The Labour councillor said: “I appreciate we need to invest in the crematoria to keep them in sound working order, but I am a little bit uneasy about making profit from death.

“If you are a resident of Boston you pay rates all your life, and to pay a premium because you have died in the borough seems to be somewhat of an extra tax.

“Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.”

The council is preparing to pay out £450,000 towards two new mercury abatement cremators in the spring, which will be installed in line with new legislation.

A further £50,000 a year will also be put aside to pay for improvements on the site, including car parking and drainage, and fund maintenance.

A price increase to £540 for services – a rise of £100 – is intended to fund the change.

However, from 2013, it is proposed that another £50 is added to the cost to bring prices in line with those at other facilities which are more expensive than Boston, including Peterborough, which charges £609 for a service and Grantham, which charges £615. Alford Crematorium, which the council claims has taken away a lot of Boston’s business, charges £460 for a service.

Coun Alison Austin told the board she thought it was sensible to raise the cost to keep in line with other facilities as the money would help improve the crematorium.

She added: “We must make sure the whole ambiance of it is appropriate and in keeping. It’s downright tatty at the moment. It’s up to us to improve it and that will cost money.”

l What do you think about the crematorium fee increases? Email andrew.brookes@jpress.co.uk or write in to the address on page six.