The average cost of a cremation in the UK has soared by a third since 2010 as a result of a “drastic increase” in running and operational costs, according to official figures obtained by the BBC.
An adult cremation now costs an average of £640 – up from £480 five years ago, according to freedom of information responses from local authorities that run crematoriums.
Operators blamed the cost of installing equipment to comply with new legislation on pollution. But critics claimed that crematoriums are being run inefficiently and say there should be more transparency in the costs.
More than 170 local authorities run at least one crematorium. In other areas they are operated by private firms.
Dominic Maguire, of the National Association of Funeral Directors which represents more than 80% of funeral directors in the UK, said that the BBC figures highlighted how bereaved families were continuing to be hit in the pocket by disbursement costs levied by local authorities.
“We are concerned about the rising cost of disbursements, which are outside funeral directors’ control, and have raised the issue at government level,” he said.
“Along with sharp price rises in burial and cremation fees imposed by local authorities, estate management costs have risen by 39% since 2013, whereas a survey by the NAFD last year showed that funeral directors have worked hard to keep their own costs down with only a 3.5% rise in the cost of their services in the past year.”
Charles Cowling, author of the Good Funeral Guide, told the BBC that the prices were “absurdly high” because crematoriums were being run “grotesquely inefficiently”. He said the energy used to cremate a person cost £15 at most, but prices rose when staff and maintenance were factored in.
However, Tim Morris from the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management said most crematorium managers had had to pay between £1m and £3m to upgrade equipment to comply with new environmental rules.
Read mor from this story in the Guardian (UK)
Original Story at the BBC: Cost of public cremation rises by a third