The cost of burying loved ones in Preston is due to rise, it was revealed today.
Council bosses will hike the cost of burials and cremations as part of efforts to plug a £2.5m budget black hole over the next five years.
While the fees will stay the same for the next year, they will go up in 2013/14.
Today, Town Hall chiefs said the move was necessary because of Government funding cuts – but said fees were being frozen for 12 months because they had risen “too much” in recent years.
But opposition councillors accused the ruling cabinet of a “u-turn” after Labour criticised the Conservatives for proposed increases last year.
Coun Ken Hudson, leader of the opposition Conservative group, said: “It is definitely a u-turn by the Labour group. They gave us quite a lot of grief over election time about what they called the Tory’s proposed death tax.”
The council’s cabinet member for planning and regulation, Coun John Swindells, was due to agree the decision today.
He said: “We have received this 42% cut in Government grant and we were committed not to increasing charges this year because we felt they had gone up too much last year.We have to do it, it is not something we want to do.”
The increase, which will see burial charges rise by 4%, will raise an extra £30,000 per year for the council from next year.
It means adult burials will go up from £400 to £416 and the purchase of an “exclusive right of burial” will increase from £407 to £432. The cost of cremation will go up from £550 to £572. The fees come into force from April 1 next year.
A report on the move said: “For those least able to pay funeral costs, the Government provides financial support via the Social Fund. For those not eligible to receive support via the Social Fund, cabinet intend to introduce a Funeral Support Policy to waive charges for burial or cremation in cases of genuine significant need.”