A delegated decision has been taken by Leeds City Council that will see burial charges increase by 4.5% from 1 October 2012, leaving Leeds residents facing higher bills for the burial of their relatives and loved ones.

The move will generate and additional £220,000 for the Council which it says will be used to meet the increased costs of running the burial and cremations service. A comparison with the other 7 core cities shows that Leeds is the third highest charging for burials and fourth for cremations of the 8 largest cities in England.

In November 2011, less than a year ago the same charges were increased by 6%, generating £222,000 in additional income for the Council’s coffers.

While I recognise that Council budgets are stretched at the moment I do have to question the ruling administration returning time and again to increase charges for this sensitive service. Over the last two years they have sought to make significant increases – 6% in November 2011 followed by a further 4.5% less than a year later. The two increases have raked in over £400,000 in income for the Council.

I accept that inflationary costs are an issue and that additional security measures have been needed at some crematoria, but surely the Council can look at alternatives to simply passing on these costs to families year after year – it is not their fault that graves have been vandalised and disrupted. I hope that they will give some thought to this and given the above inflation 6% increase less than a year ago, in November 2011, look to reduce the planned increase for 2012.