Ipswich: Concern at hike in funeral costs

IPSWICH: Fears were today raised over a huge rise in the cost of funerals after figures revealed burial fees have shot up 63 per cent.

Ipswich residents can expect an increase of more than �250 for an adult burial after borough bosses green-lit the measures.

Age UK said widows faced “difficult times” - particularly those dependent on their partners’ fixed income company pensions.

The council, which stands to collect tens of thousands of pounds from the increases, meanwhile described the hike as a way of “moving into line with others in the industry”.

The cost of an Ipswich resident to be buried in their home town is now �655 - up from �401.

Fees for the cremation of an adult Ipswich resident have also shot up from �497 to �566. And reserving a local plot rose 36pc, from �782 to �1,065.

Until now, Ipswich residents have been afforded discounted burial charges, with non-Ipswich residents paying significantly more to be buried at one of the town’s cemeteries. But since last month everyone must pay the same increased fee.

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A council spokesman said: “We have moved into line with others in the industry and our charges better reflect those made by smaller operators.”

The decision to send the cost of burial up by more than half was made last year and implemented in January.

Daphne Savage, of Age UK Suffolk, said the elderly stood to be hit hardest by the rises, adding: “These huge increases come at a difficult time, especially for those bearing the burden of losing an elderly partner, whose income has already fallen.

“This is adding a huge chunk of expense to people reliant on the pension received by their partner.

“I would advise people to consider the whole range of funeral services available and ensure they are receiving the financial benefits they are entitled to.”

You can call the benefits helpline on 01449 674222. If you are concerned about rising bills, call Age UK Suffolk on 01473 257039.

n Should residents be offered a discount? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can e-mail evening starletters@eveningstar.co.uk