North-east council accused of trying to ‘tax the dead’​ after plans to increase burial charges by more than £200

Aberdeenshire Council is proposing an increase of 25% on burial fees.
Aberdeenshire Council is proposing an increase of 25% on burial fees.

Aberdeenshire Council has been accused of trying to “tax the dead” after plans were revealed to increase burial charges.

The authority is proposing an increase of 25%.

It hopes the move could save an extra £525,000 over the next two years – with burial costs jumping up by more than £200 on average.

It currently costs £783 to pay for a burial for a resident of Aberdeenshire, aged 16 and above, however, this could increase by 25% to £978.

For non-residents of the area to be buried in Aberdeenshire, costs would increase from £1,369 to £1,711.

The changes are among of raft of proposals in a bid to save the council money.

They will affect a number of other services, including animal licences, dog warden services, food hygiene courses, tattoo licences and harbour berthing fees.

In a report presented to councillors, infrastructure direction Stephen Archer said: “There was strong support for the general principle that fees charged should cover the cost of service delivery.

“A preference for the phasing of charges over two years was expressed, with some stating significant increases would pose real difficulties to them.

“The greatest level of concerns were expressed about the increases proposed for burial charges and some environmental health charges.”

Critics have warned that increasing the costs of burial could add extra anxiety to grieving families.

MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said: “Not only are the Tories trying to tax the lowest earners, they’re now trying to tax the dead.

“For people who have lost a loved one, arranging a funeral and the finances of it are an additional worry at what is already an extremely distressing time.

“What’s important to note is it’s not the principle of increasing costs by a nominal amount, it’s the scale of this increase which will be difficult.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee will be discussing the proposals on Thursday.