Sheffield Council cites Government budget cuts for 20 per cent rise in cremation costs

Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium
Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium

Sheffield Council bosses have cited Government cuts for hiking cremation costs by nearly 20 per cent.

Figures seen by The Star shows the local authority hiked up cremation prices at Hutcliffe Wood and City Road from £690 to £824 in one year - the biggest rise in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

But bosses stress having to find £40m worth of cuts has meant having to make 'difficult decisions' and the money is helping to pay for refurbishments at Abbey Lane Chapel and City Road.

The Star understands the Sheffield Council price hike was also to bring it in line with Rotherham Crematorium.

The price rise has been described as the 'ultimate stealth tax' going 'unnoticed' by families say critics.

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “With each year of budget cuts, making further savings becomes harder and harder. As a result, we as an authority have difficult decisions to make.

“We are having to find savings of around £40m across the council during this financial year, and we cannot do this by cutting spending alone. One of the changes we are therefore introducing is an increase in the cost of some of our bereavement services.

“It is unfortunately essential to raise fees in order to meet the rising costs of maintaining the crematoria and cemeteries to a high standard, and also to be able to continue to further invest in our facilities.

“We also need to consider future pressures on bereavement services, and will be continuing our programme of improvements to be able to further develop and enhance our services to the bereaved, making them fit for the future.”

But James Dunn, co-founder of Funeralbooker, said: “These price hikes are the ultimate stealth tax, going completely unnoticed by families until their moment of need. But with such significant price differences now appearing across the region, many will be questioning whether these fees genuinely reflect the service they are getting or are simply down to opportunistic greed.

“Cremation is the cheapest option, but affordability is of growing concern. In some parts of the UK privately-owned crematoria are close to breaking the £1,000 barrier - the danger is that others in this region will raise their fees to follow suit. If these costs continue to climb, families will struggle and we will see funerals causing even greater hardship and stress.

“Disbursements, or cremation and burial fees, are almost entirely unavoidable, but families can protect themselves by planning ahead. If meeting the cost of a funeral would be a struggle then it might be worth taking out a pre-paid funeral plan, which will guarantee to meet your funeral director’s fees and will help meet the costs of disbursements. It’s also worth remembering that independent funeral directors typically offer better value-for- money and a more personal service than the big chains, so it’s definitely worth going online to shop around.”