York ‘one of the most expensive places in Britain to be cremated’ – as council hikes funeral costs again

Photograph: carolynabooth / Pixabay

The cost of dying in York is set to rise – as the city becomes one of the most expensive places to be cremated in the country, according to councillors.

City of York Council is due to put up the price of cremation, baby urns and memorial plaques as well as some other bereavement services – as part of this year’s budget.

It takes the cost of an adult cremation from £895 to £920 – and makes York one of the priciest places to be cremated in the country according to the Labour group.

There remains no charge for the cremation and burial of children.

The Liberal Democrat and Green Party-led council says fee increases have to be made because Conservative government cuts to local authority budgets mean money has to be raised through council tax and service charges instead.

Scatter ashes for £120

York Crematorium. Photograph © Google Street View
These are some of the price hikes in the budget:

  • extra time for the scattering of ashes – up from £110 to £120
  • an adult grave at Dringhouses cemetery – up from £825 to £846
  • internment of ashes – £250
  • a polytainer urn – £19
  • and the cost of a baby urn will rise by 50p – to £37.

Conservative councillor and funeral director Martin Rowley said York crematorium has a “monopoly” in the area – and people have little option but to use it whatever the fees.

He said that, given two new cremators have been installed, an increase in line with inflation is fair – but the costs put York’s fees in the top 25 per cent in the UK.

He added that plans for a new crematorium between Easingwold and Thirsk have been approved – which would give residents another option.

Labour group leader Cllr Danny Myers said: “The cost of cremation is already higher in York than in many other towns and cities across the country.

“This increase means York will be charging more than £900, getting very close to the £1,000 mark.

“It’s a huge amount of money for grieving families to find. No doubt people in York will be wondering why bereaved families are being targeted. I just don’t understand why this has become a priority for this Liberal Democrat-led council.

“Labour’s alternative budget will continue to support bereaved families and will not be raising the cost of bereavement services.”

Excessive government cuts blamed

York Crematorium. Photograph © Google Street View
Council leader Keith Aspden said: “Unfortunately, excessive Conservative Government cuts to local government have meant that councils have become increasingly dependent on council tax, in order to invest in crucial services and local communities.

“Liberal Democrat councillors have worked hard to ensure that the new council budget proposes significant investment in a number of priority areas; protecting frontline services, tackling the climate emergency, investing in young people and supporting the services which protect some of the most vulnerable in our city.

“The ongoing crisis in adult social care, which the Government have failed to get to grips with, is placing more pressure on local authorities.”

A £500,000 project to replace two cremators at York Crematorium will be complete in March – when work is set to begin on a £250,000 renovation of the waiting room.

In September Hambleton District Council approved plans for a new crematorium – with councillors saying they expect about 657 cremations a year could take place at the new site.

City of York Council’s budget will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday.