Council to claw back funeral costs

Some of the costs of providing ‘pauper’s funerals’ is to be clawed back, councillors have decided.

Some of the administrative cost to Pembrokeshire County Council of providing the funerals – also known as public health funerals – will recouped from the deceased’s estate if it has a surplus of £500.

On Monday, the council’s cabinet approved a recommendation that an administration fee of £300 be charged for the arrangement of public health funerals in cases referred to the Treasury Solicitor where the estate value exceeds £500.

The council arranges for burial or cremation when no suitable arrangements have been made – costing on average £948 – and the number of such funerals has been increasing.

In the financial year 2011/12 six public health funerals were arranged. In 2010/11 there were three and in 2009/10 seven.

The cost is recovered wherever possible from the deceased estate, but the council does not currently charge for adminsitration work related to the funeral arrangement.

In a report, cabinet members were told that a number of local authorities in the UK had already implemented charges.

“It’s very sad when this happens but it seems that in the present economic climate the number of public health funerals is on the increase,” said Councillor Ken Rowlands, cabinet member for environmental and regulatory services.

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