After sinking £27.4 million into a failed Icelandic bank, Barnet Council will sneak through a series of above inflation hikes on funeral and interment charges.
The council, which was until recently administered by Boris Johnson's new chief executive Leo Boland will bring in over 50 above inflation increases. Here are just some:
Barnet Council had originally intended to raise the cost of burying a child under three years of age by 10%, but backtracked when the local press picked up on the story.
However, the revised charges highlighted by Barnet Council Watch, are only slightly less punishing with many increases still pushing 10%.
Meanwhile, allowances paid to foster parents will increase by just 2% apparently 'in line with inflation'. Inflation currently stands at 3%.
The above inflation rises follow those of nearby Hammersmith and Fulham which has paid for headline reductions in council tax by hiking fees across the board.
My own worry is that the recent proposals by David Cameron to allow referendums on council tax rises will only increase these pressures on Councils to bring in stealth charges.
And with local newspapers in many parts of the country all but non-existent, these are exactly the kinds of below-the-radar measures that they will take.
Thankfully a few bloggers like disaffected Tory David Miller, have managed to keep these stories in the public eye.
But with most local authorities acting with little or no press oversight, is it really wise to keep slipping them extra powers on the side?
-Update- The Barnet Times have followed up on the story. What, no comment Mr. Coleman?