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A Tax On Grief

Home / News & Views / Speeches / A Tax On Grief

27 October 2017

Burial Costs

Across the country, Local Authorities double, triple or even quadruple their burial fees for non-residents of that borough, regardless of how long they have lived there, with nearly every Council charging extra for non-residents. This multiplier applies to any burial or interment fee, plus any grave lease cost. The justification offered by Local Authorities is that they were not receiving the deceased person’s council taxes at the time of their death, even if they owned a grave space in that previous Local Authority and had lived there for the majority of their life.

This is an issue that has affected many of Siobhain's constituents who have come to her for help - including cases of families who own a family grave space in a different borough but simply cannot afford to pay the costs of burial there.

From the average burial fee of £419 in Northern Ireland to £3,806 in London, there is a stark and immoral postcode lottery into the cost of dying. Siobhain thinks it is absolutely abhorrent that councils capitalise on life’s two certainties, taxes and death, to plug the gaps in their funding and make up for widespread Government cuts.

What’s more, privately-owned cemeteries are raising costs faster than ever and she fears that recent history suggests Local Authorities will choose to follow suit – indicating a worsening problem in years to come.

Siobhain doesn't understand the justification for astronomical burial costs to plug the gap that Local Authorities face due to Government cuts. And she certainly doesn't understand how those same Local Authorities can justify doubling, trebling or even quadrupling fees for their deceased former residents whose family members just want to see them laid to rest.

It is high time that this tax on grief is put to rest.