Monmouthshire could face £100 burial fees hike
10:20am Sunday 6th January 2013 in Gwent news
BURIAL fees in Monmouthshire could go up by £100 next year to allow the council to spend money in other areas.
With the county council facing monetary pressures, the plans received unanimous support at a committee meeting.
In three years, relatives could be faced with paying out up to £300 more, as the new amounts are introduced gradually.
Cllr Giles Howard, cabinet member for culture and the environment, said while the increases are subject to approval at a further meeting, members knew that the council has to make substantial savings this year.
"If you can raise more money from this you can spend more on filling potholes or helping vulnerable people," he said.
"It's a gradual change we want to bring in. We are talking in the region of the 'exclusive right to burial' fee going up by £100 next year. With it being tough financially we have to look at every area of expenditure.
"Members, except for one who abstained, were supportive of a rise."
The average cost of burial in Monmouthshire is £940, compared to £1151 across Gwent.
Putting the price up would raise an extra £30,000 for Monmouthshire council each year.
"It's not about making as much money as we can. We are currently a couple of hundred pounds under the Welsh average and members thought the cost should be put up so it's closer to that," added Cllr Howard.
Monmouthshire council looks after six cemeteries in the county and it has investigated options to build another in Monmouth.
However, no suitable land has been identified so investigation work is being carried out at land in Penallt.
This is due to enter its final stage, but Cllr Howard admitted it is a "far from ideal solution" given its rural position.