Barnet’s Labour councillors successfully stopped an increase in burial costs of over £1000 for people with a local connection to Barnet, at this week’s Environment Committee (8 Nov).
Conservative-led Barnet Council wanted to impose the 9% increase in burial fees for so-called ‘non-residents’ which would have included elderly people who have been moved to care homes outside the borough and lifelong or long-term residents forced to move outside the borough because of regeneration projects.
The cost of purchasing a Class ‘A’ (7’6″ x 3’6″) grave for ‘non-residents’ would increase from £12,650.00 to £13,800.00, for example.
Labour councillors pointed out that the term ‘non-resident’ was ill defined and did not differentiate between a person with no link to the borough and someone who has spent a large proportion of their life in the borough but has died elsewhere.
The Environment Committee agreed to halt implementation of the proposed burial fee, review the definition of ‘non-resident’ and report back to a future committee meeting.
Cllr Langleben, a member of the Environment Committee said: “This burial fee increase was the biggest single increase in the fees and charges report.
“There is a reduced amount of burial space at Hendon Cemetery, but while it is fair to charge more for people with absolutely no connection to the borough, the proposal as currently worded would affect those who may have lived in Barnet all their lives and still have family connections locally.
“I’m glad we were able to secure cross-party agreement to review this, and I look forward to seeing the revised proposals.”