Grieving face 10pc rise in burial costs in Wolverhampton
Burial and cremation fees will rise by 10 per cent, under plans for a Black Country authority to save millions of pounds, while the use of organists at a cemetery is also being reviewed.
Mourners in Wolverhampton could face the 10 per cent rise from next year, followed by a further minimum two per cent increase every year after that.
It comes as Wolverhampton City Council battles to save £98 million.
Chiefs today said the council is facing the 'most challenging financial situation in its history'. The increase in fees could help pull in £240,000 in the next financial year but comes less than a year after a 7.5 per cent increase in cremation fees was agreed.
Tim Clark, Wolverhampton City Council spokesman, said: "The council is facing the most challenging financial situation in its history – we have to make £98 million of cuts in order to balance the books.
"When you consider that this is on top of the £100 million we've already cut over the past five years, people will understand that some very difficult choices have to be made.
"These are proposals and people will have the opportunity to tell us what they think over the coming weeks as we consult on them."
The current cost of a burial in a public grave costs £880 and would rise to £968. Exclusive right of burial currently costs £1,587.30.
The local authority is also reviewing the use of organists at Bushbury Crematorium as part of its saving proposals.
Bosses are considering introducing a new music service but have stressed the organs will be retained for anyone who wants to use them.
The new service would provide a PC desktop system, loaded with a 1,000 strong music library, which could be hooked up to speakers at the crematorium.
The council spokesman added: "Currently, when a family request music for a funeral service, we play a CD. But sometimes it isn't always possible for us, the family or the funeral director to find a copy of the right CD.
"In conjunction with, and at the request of several local funeral directors and ministers, we have opted to explore the possibilities, in line with over 200 crematoria, of an integrated music system to ensure that we provide the best customer service possible at a very difficult time.
"We will be retaining our organs and continuing to provide this facility to those who wish to have it and this will now need to be arranged through their funeral directors."
The city council's cost cutting measures are currently out to consultation.
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