Price rises for Belfast City Council burial plots
The cost of a burial plot in Belfast City Council-owned cemeteries is set to increase.
Non-residents wishing to be buried in the city face a 5% hike in fees from £1,497 to £1,548 for a new grave.
Cremation costs will also jump by 50% from £397 to £594 from April 1 for non-residents.
The move was ratified at a full meeting of Belfast City Council this week.
Belfast residents paying rates to the council face no increase to the current fees of £491 for burial or £198 for cremation.
At a full meeting of Belfast City Council on Tuesday night, a proposal to increase the costs of graves by 5% for residents as well as non-residents was defeated by 41 votes to two votes.
Only Alliance councillors Maire Hendron and Mervyn Jones were in favour of the move.
“This is not about being hard on people,” said UUP councillor David Browne.
“It is about trying to be fair. I do not see why ratepayers from Belfast should subsidise others who are not from the city.
“Every council has a responsibility to provide burial services under legislation. We are always hammered by the fact that neighbouring councils like Castlereagh have one of the cheapest rates in Northern Ireland — one reason for that is because they don’t have a graveyard.
“If it is a legal requirement, why should we provide for people from other councils?”
The situation for residents may change when the charges are reviewed again in six months’ time.
It is understood that the council’s parks and cemeteries budget for 2011/12 was set last month on the assumption of a 5% increase for residents and non-residents.
The review of bereavement service charges was carried out because Belfast City Council needs funds to acquire more land for another cemetery.
Last month, Belfast City Council’s parks and leisure committee rejected options to increase prices by 55%, which would have taken the cost of a grave in a council-owned cemetery to £2,283.
Speaking at the meeting, Sinn Fein’s Tom Hartley said he believed people were being pushed towards cremation. “The whole situation is a real mess,” he said.
DUP councillor Gavin Robinson said: “It has been tragic that this issue has been politicised. It seems to me the argument put forward is that everyone within the burial process is entitled to make a profit or at least cover costs, except Belfast City Council. Ratepayers will continue to pick up the tab.”
Grave costs elsewhere:
- North Down Borough Council: £362 (resident) or £1,814 (non-resident).
- Derry City Council: £266 |(resident) or £402 (non-|resident).
- Coleraine Borough Council: £280 (resident) or £560 (non-resident).
- Enniskillen District Council £245 (resident) or £415 (non-resident).
- Armagh City Council £335 (resident) or £675 (non-|resident).