Friday, 15 June 2012

Cornwall Lib Dems call for cemetery charge re-think

Cornwall Liberal Democrats have called on the Cornwall Council to think again on plans to increase cemetery fees and restrict burial rights to 50 years compared to the current 99 year terms across much of the authority. The call comes as the portfolio holder, Cllr Steve Double, announced the new fees and policies which will come into force from August 1st.

Charges across Cornwall will be standardised with the basic cost of buying a plot and interment being set at £1000. At present, fees range from around £620 to £958.

My colleague Edwina Hannaford has taken the lead on this issue. She said:

"The decision to raise fees across Cornwall is very regrettable. It is one thing to standardise the fees, but this should not have been taken as an excuse to raise charges. Surely an average would have been fairer."

"However we welcome the fact that Cllr Double has backed away from his initial plans to impose charges on families for purchasing a grave for children who die. That was an insensitive and thoughtless proposal."

"In most of Cornwall, burial plots are bought for 99 or 100 years. The proposal to cut this to 50 years is wrong. I would like to see the old terms restored, or at the very least allow families to buy extended terms rather than try to chase them up for a further payment after the 50 years is up."

Cornwall Council has also been asked to consider amendments to the new fees and policies for military graves. Cllr Les Donnithorne, Lib Dem councillor for St Agnes, has asked the authority to consider a policy of waiving charges for any military service personnel who die in the line of duty.

"Service men and women who lay down their lives for this country should be given every honour by Cornwall Council as they are by the nation as a whole," said Cllr Donnithorne. "We should certainly be waiving cemetery fees as a mark of respect for their sacrifice. I'm glad that Cllr Double has agreed to consider this policy."

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