District councillor finds hike in Daventry cemetery charges 'absolutely disgraceful'

Councillor Wendy Randall
Councillor Wendy Randall

A Daventry District councillor has labelled the authority's hike of cemetery charges "absolutely disgraceful" after burial plot and grave-digging prices almost doubled from April 1.

Wendy Randall (Labour, Drayton) submitted a motion for discussion at Wednesday's full council meeting in which she asked for the charges at the council-owned Welton Road cemetery to be returned to pre-April levels, but it was voted down by members.

Also requested by Councillor Randall is that any decisions on increases in burial costs should in future require the approval of the council.

“The most disappointing thing for me is there is an increase in charges with the only reason to bring it in line with the local area," said Councillor Randall.

“They’re just looking to make a profit on the deceased’s family.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful they would consider putting the charges up for children like that.”

She added: “If you die at work you’ve got cover. Imagine you have lost a child and you have got to pay all that money to bury them.

Assuming the person buys the plot, total costs for an adult burial have gone up from £1,150 (£650 grant of plot fee plus £500 for interment) to £1,850 (£1,200 plot fee and £650 for interment) and children burials now cost £400 (£350 for plot, £50 for burial) compared to £234 (£120 for plot, £114 for burial).

Speaking at yesterday's meeting, fellow Labour councillor Jason Pritchard (Braunston and Welton) questioned why the council was charging £50 interment fess for children's burials at all.

"If it's not a lot of money then why are we charging?" he asked members.

On April 1, Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to waive the costs of child burials and cremations in England to bring them in line with Wales.

Mrs May said the fees will be met by a new Children's Funeral Fund to help parents struggling to pay for funerals for children aged under 18.

The council's 2017-18 interment charges for a child were £114, and have been reduced to £50 for 2018-19.

The reason given to Councillor Randall when she asked the council about the hikes was that the authority wanted to bring them in line with other areas.

That decision was made under powers delegated to the chief executive so the matter was not debated by council.

But when compared to Badby, Weedon and Nether Heyford, Councillor Randall found that adult burials cost much less at £830, £635 and £630 respectively.

Neither of the parishes charges for children.

However, the district council said it was bringing its charges in line with neighbouring borough and district councils like Warwick, Leamington and Leicester, rather than parish councils.

Ian Vincent, chief executive of Daventry District Council said: “The fees for Welton Road cemetery have been brought in line with similar charges at other, similar-sized local authorities."