Typical funeral costs in Powys to increase by 65%

Media caption,
Undertaker Geraint Peate warns the increase could backfire on the council

The cost of a typical burial in Powys will increase by 65% in the new year, the county council has announced.

Funeral director, Geraint Peate, of Llanfair Caereinion, warned the increased rates could lead to more people needing a so-called paupers' funeral.

The cost of a standard adult burial will rise from about £1,054 to £1,740.

Powys said it had "no option" as it must find savings of £27m over the next three years.

Image source, Thinkstock

Increases will apply to charges for services including plot excavation, burial rights and headstone erection at Powys's 19 cemeteries.

An additional £400 will be incurred for a Saturday burial.

Mr Peate said the increases could backfire, forcing the local authority to pay out more for public health funerals, which must be arranged at a council's expense when no other means for disposal of someone's remains can be found.

He said: "I do feel very cross about it and concerned at the extra costs for families. How on earth can you warrant such a large increase?"

Media caption,
AM Russell George wants to be sure the council is not profiteering

Conservative AM for Montgomeryshire, Russell George, said he "fully appreciated" the financial pressures facing the council, which is run by an independent coalition.

He added: "I contend that the way in which fees are revised must accurately reflect the true cost of the bereavement service provided rather than an implementation of a 65% increase across the board."

John Powell, cabinet member for environmental protection, said: "There are significant costs associated with managing our 19 cemeteries, including grave digging and regular maintenance. The increases enable the council to fully recover the cost of the service.

"Taking the decision to increase fees is never easy but with the financial pressures that we are faced with, we have no other options but to increase these fees."

The Welsh Local Government Association said the "stark" economic reality for many councils was that unprotected or discretionary services were under "severe pressure".