Grieving South Tyneside families face among highest costs for cremation in the UK, figures reveal

Families in South Tyneside who have lost loved ones face one of the highest bills in the North East for cremation services, new figures have revealed.

By James Harrison
Saturday, 10 August, 2019, 17:17
The crematorium in John Reid Road

The service is also among the most expensive in the country, with fees at the borough’s crematorium in the top half across the country, according to the latest comparison figures.

Bills start at £816 for an adult cremation, but can rise as high as £1,165 if the service is requested ‘outside normal working hours’.

And prices can rise even further, with an extra £50 surcharge added for anyone deemed a ‘non-resident of South Tyneside’, while a cardboard container for the ashes can set the bereaved back £12, increasing to £100 for a wooden casket.

The most recent data, compiled in a joint investigation by the BBC and the Cremation Society, a charity, paints a stark picture of the costs of cremation at council-run facilities in the UK.

The team analysed figures for adult cremations and obtained the latest data for 183 council-run crematoria in the UK and Channel Islands for the past five years.

This found the cheapest offering was Belfast, which currently has the lowest cost for cremation at £364.

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But in Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, the most expensive, families can expect to pay a basic fee of £960, more than double the charge in Northern Ireland’s capital.

Private sector crematoria are likely to charge the biggest bills however, with top prices in some parts of the country reaching £1,070, according to the Cremation Society.

Council fees are mostly reinvested in cemeteries and crematoria, according to the Local Government Association.

A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council 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 annually review the level of our cemetery and crematorium fees, which cover the operational cost of the Bereavement Service and ensure it continues to maintain high standards. There are no current plans to increase the charges this year.”