Thursday, 19 February 2009

Barnet Council raises funeral fees above inflation

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%.

Stealth Politics

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?


chris said...

Funeral charges are always the easiest ones to raise. Nobody organising a funeral wants to put up too much of a fuss about the cost of burying their loved ones.

AdamB said...

Sadly I think you're right there Chris, although it's not just the councils but the funeral directors themselves who make a killing (excuse the pun) from other peoples' misery.

Anonymous said...

£27.4 million!!! just think how many taxis brian Coleman could have got for that!

Don't Call Me Dave said...


I am not disaffected with the whole of the Conservative Party. It is just a number of councillors in Barnet that I have issues with. David Cameron’s proposals for localism are something I enthusiastically support and I will be very pleased to see the back of this Labour government.

AdamB said...

I wasn't trying to suggest otherwise, but I perhaps could have worded it better.

Rog T said...

Adam, you really should have mentioned Brian "Call Me a Taxi" Coleman in your discussion of this outrageous rise. This tardy lardy, who has munched his way through more free dinners than any other member of the GLA

Brian Coleman Free Dinner Register

Has no compassion whatsoever. Not only that but he seems hell bent on rustling up business for Barnet's graveyards by giving crap advice about how to deal with malfunctioning gas boilers in his role as GLA Fire chief.

Brian Colemans Dodgy Fire Advice

Well next Tuesday is pancake day. We should rename it Coleman day as it is the one day when tossers do something useful

AdamB said...

Don't worry Rog, more Coleman-related fun should be on it's way next week.

Don't Call Me Dave said...


The problem with local papers is that many (most?) are really suffering in the recession and have been laying off staff. We have two free papers in Barnet and both of them are now a fraction of the size of a year ago. With fewer journalists, fewer stories are covered and those still in their jobs are naturally inclined to chase the easy stories rather than digging around for a scoop.

Perhaps this is why bloggers, who do have the time to dig, are so despised by the political classes.

Tom said...

"Funeral charges are always the easiest ones to raise"

Also, unless you're really unlucky, it's not something you pay for every week, so you don't notice the rise.

Tom said...

"Perhaps this is why bloggers, who do have the time to dig, are so despised by the political classes."

I do hope so. That's the point. Politicians should be scared of getting found out and should be scared of democracy. It's up to us to find them out and us to support democracy. Can't rely on politicians to do *either* any more than you can rely on turkeys to prepare your Christmas dinner...