Grieving families in the region are being hit hard as cremation and burial fees across the region soar to all-time high, according to new figures.
In South Tyneside, prices have remained the same despite sharp rises in prices across the North East.
The data which comes from Funeralbooker, the independent and impartial funeral comparison service, show that in South Tyneside the average cost for cremations this year has stayed the same at £742.
The cost of a burial in South Tyneside in the last year has also stayed the same at £1,706.
But elsewhere it is a different story.
Costs in Sunderland costs have rising by over 12% in the last year.
This year the average cost for a cremation in the city is now £740. Last year the price was £657 - an increase in price by 12.6%.
The cost of a burial in Sunderland is now £1,710 - an increase in price of 5.8% on last year’s cost of £1,616.
In Hartlepool the cost of cremation this year is £710, an increase of 3.5% on last year’s price of £686.
The average cost of a burial is now £1,573 an increase of 16.8% on last year’s price of £1,347.
A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “We appreciate that the loss of a loved one is an extremely difficult time for families and the cost of arranging a funeral can make it even more distressing.
“We regularly review the level of our cemetery and crematorium fees and charges which cover the operational cost of the Bereavement Service.
“The local authority cost for carrying out a burial or cremation forms part of the overall funeral director’s bill, which often includes fees for things like doctor’s certificates, minsters and flowers.”
The findings show that cremation fees are going up by an average of 3.7%, while burial fees in the region are rocketing by 5.1%.
As a result, families will find themselves forced to shell out £727 on average for a cremation, while the average burial fee in the North East will now cost a staggering £1,612.
This compares to the UK as a whole, where the average cremation fee now comes in at £753, while burial costs significantly more at £1,792.
The price increases in the North East are below those seen across the UK as a whole and leave the region as the ninth most expensive in which to be cremated and the sixth most expensive in which to be buried.
James Dunn, co-founder of Funeralbooker advised people to combat the rising costs by taking out a funeral plan or going to an independent funeral director.
He said: “These price hikes are the ultimate stealth tax, going completely unnoticed by families until their moment of need.
“But with such significant price differences now appearing across the region, many will be questioning whether these fees genuinely reflect the service they are getting or are simply down to opportunistic greed.
“If these costs continue to climb, families will struggle and we will see funerals causing even greater hardship and stress.”
For more information and to view the data visit: https://funeralbooker.com/blog/2017-cremation-burial-cost-index/