Taxing problem for Felixstowe residents

FELIXSTOWE cemetery is about to cause residents a taxing problem.Because business at the graveyard has been a little slow over the past few months it will mean the resort's council tax will have to rise.

FELIXSTOWE cemetery is about to cause residents a taxing problem.

Because business at the graveyard has been a little slow over the past few months it will mean the resort's council tax will have to rise.

It seems the tax is going up because not enough people have been buried.

The drop in deaths at the seaside resort means that the council's budget sums have gone completely wrong, leaving it with a huge shortfall.


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Now it is having to double its tax rise for the coming year to make up the lost burial income.

Around 70 people less have been buried in the past year and it is not known why the toll has reduced – it could be because the second world war claimed so many prematurely, a trend or that cremation has become so popular.

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It could just be the mild winters the country is enjoying.

David Smith, vice chairman of the town council's general purposes committee, said the unexpected drop in income would mean an extra 4.1 per cent on the authority's share of the council tax.

"The income at the cemetery is down dramatically by £10,000 and it seems that a lot less people are dying than usual," said Mr Smith.

"We don't really know why but it could be a blip in the statistics caused by the effects now being felt of people who died in the second world war.

"It could be that more people are now being cremated than being buried.

"Whatever the reason, we are seeing a temporary dip in the number of people being buried and half the increase in our council tax is because of the cemetery."

The council estimates how much income it will receive each year and has to calculate, based on the figures of previous years, how many people are likely to die and be buried at the cemetery in Langley Avenue.

It reckoned income from burials would be £38,750 in the past year, but it has turned out to be £28,350. It is now budgeting this figure for the year ahead.

Mayor of Felixstowe Malcolm Minns has asked the council to approach the Office of National Statistics to see if there are national trends which might be taken into account in future budget planning.

"Our budget has tumbled by a very large percentage and it might help to provide some authoritative judgement to help us with the forecasting of this income in years to come," he said.

The council set a budget for its services of £269,730 for 2003-04, an overall rise of 7.4pc. It will mean average band D householders will pay £31.60 for the town council in their council tax, along with the police, county and district councils.

n Burials will cost around 7pc more from April – going up from £165 to £175 for an adult, and £65 to £70 for a child.

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