Plan to raise burial fees in Mearns

Burials could soon get more expensive in the Mearns

Bereaved families in the Mearns could soon be hit with a 25% burial charge rise.

The move is one of a range of measures being considered by council chiefs as they grapple with the rising costs of providing public services.

The local authority says it currently pays significant subsidies to cover the cost of burials in Aberdeenshire.

Any rises could be phased in over two years to reduce the impact.

The overall cost of burial grounds exceeds income by £585,000 per year, so an increase of around 25% has been recommended to help reduce the deficit.

There would still be a shortfall. The council said statutory services, such as burials, have to be provided by the council, and it is expected the cost of providing these services should be covered by their fees.

The council’s director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said: “The main thrust of this consultation is to seek views on the principles behind proposed increases in our service charges.

“Some may feel the council should continue to provide some services at a loss, perhaps to encourage a particular type of business for example, while others will feel the council should cover its costs for these services to free up money for other services.

“Everyone will understand the cost of living continually increases and this is no different for council services – even if it is only by the rate of inflation.

“Although burial fees can be an emotive issue, given it’s an essential service which most people need, the council currently subsidises these substantially and is simply seeking to cover the costs.”

A recent review of chargeable services delivered by the council’s infrastructure services department shows some need to increase by more than inflation to cover the cost of delivering them.

These also include recycling collections, dog warden services, hire of council minibuses, weights hire services, HMO licences and sports grounds safety certificates.

Information from the survey will be used by councillors to inform their decision on whether to approve the proposed increases to charges.

The online consultation is open now and will run until Friday, December 1.

To take part see: