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© Bishop’s Stortford Town Council Cemetery Charges – A radical review Presented to F&GP October 2013 James Parker October 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "© Bishop’s Stortford Town Council Cemetery Charges – A radical review Presented to F&GP October 2013 James Parker October 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 © Bishop’s Stortford Town Council Cemetery Charges – A radical review Presented to F&GP October 2013 James Parker October 2013

2 Cemetery Charges – Briefing and Rationale Fact: Cemeteries lose money, Crematoria make money Fact: Cemeteries lose money, Crematoria make money But some people choose to be buried, which is why Councils provide Cemeteries But some people choose to be buried, which is why Councils provide Cemeteries The challenge is: Councils offer a 100/75/50/30 year exclusive right of burial but The challenge is: Councils offer a 100/75/50/30 year exclusive right of burial but Re-use is currently illegal outside London=>graves and their surrounds must be maintained for an indefinite period of time (some of ours 150 years old!) Re-use is currently illegal outside London=>graves and their surrounds must be maintained for an indefinite period of time (some of ours 150 years old!) Cemeteries profitable initially, become unprofitable as the burden of ‘old’ graves grows Cemeteries profitable initially, become unprofitable as the burden of ‘old’ graves grows The Cost The Cost Grant Thornton (auditors) estimate lifetime cost of a grave is typically £2000 per grave Grant Thornton (auditors) estimate lifetime cost of a grave is typically £2000 per grave we are typical we are typical At BSTC grave maintenance cost = £14/grave/year At BSTC grave maintenance cost = £14/grave/year Equates to £1050 over 75 years of the grant of exclusive right (ERB) or £2100 over 150 years Equates to £1050 over 75 years of the grant of exclusive right (ERB) or £2100 over 150 years This excludes the ‘cost of capital’ ie the land This excludes the ‘cost of capital’ ie the land The Charges The Charges We offer 75 year ERB (exclusive right of burial) currently at £350 We offer 75 year ERB (exclusive right of burial) currently at £350 Many councils price similarly, some charge much more (districts tend to charge higher prices) Many councils price similarly, some charge much more (districts tend to charge higher prices) Sawbo/Hertford £345, Ware = £750, Buckingham = £400, Three Rivers = £807, Exeter = £ for 50 years (£950-£1450 for 30 years), Kingston £3745 Sawbo/Hertford £345, Ware = £750, Buckingham = £400, Three Rivers = £807, Exeter = £ for 50 years (£950-£1450 for 30 years), Kingston £3745 By comparison - cremation (without interment) at Harlow Crem = £615 By comparison - cremation (without interment) at Harlow Crem = £615 Our service is relatively low cost! Our service is relatively low cost! The question The question Is it morally justifiable for the majority who are cremated to be obliged (through Council Tax) to subsidize the minority who choose burial? Is it morally justifiable for the majority who are cremated to be obliged (through Council Tax) to subsidize the minority who choose burial? © Bishop’s Stortford Town Council

3 One possible scheme and rationale Split cost into two Split cost into two In the period of the ERB In the period of the ERB The purchaser has rights throughout the period and has chosen to buy them The purchaser has rights throughout the period and has chosen to buy them The purchaser has alternatives – namely cremation The purchaser has alternatives – namely cremation Sound argument for charging the full cost Sound argument for charging the full cost After expiry of the ERB After expiry of the ERB The purchaser has no rights, only due to public policy can the space not be reused => stronger argument for public subsidy The purchaser has no rights, only due to public policy can the space not be reused => stronger argument for public subsidy Leads to this policy: Leads to this policy: Charge full cost for the period of the ERB because purchaser has a choice Charge full cost for the period of the ERB because purchaser has a choice Plus, optionally, a ‘respect’ period after the last burial in the plot of say 25 years, during which the grave would remain undisturbed Plus, optionally, a ‘respect’ period after the last burial in the plot of say 25 years, during which the grave would remain undisturbed => Adult 75 year ERB = £1050, additional £350 payable for interments after year 50 (policy will kick in in 50 years time!), or more simply, charge £1400 => Adult 75 year ERB = £1050, additional £350 payable for interments after year 50 (policy will kick in in 50 years time!), or more simply, charge £1400 Subsequent costs borne at public expense because this period is due to public policy Subsequent costs borne at public expense because this period is due to public policy Hope for change in law (not impossible) to allow reuse Hope for change in law (not impossible) to allow reuse Exploit ‘managed wild’ to manage costs and create amenity Exploit ‘managed wild’ to manage costs and create amenity Continue to drive costs down through improved layout, machinery and practices Continue to drive costs down through improved layout, machinery and practices Charges for other services (the interment, chapel etc.) to remain at a rate comparable to cost Charges for other services (the interment, chapel etc.) to remain at a rate comparable to cost Recommendation Recommendation Adopt above logic as the target. Offer 50 year ERB as an option (in addition to 75 year) Adopt above logic as the target. Offer 50 year ERB as an option (in addition to 75 year) Moderate having regard to charges at neighbouring towns Moderate having regard to charges at neighbouring towns Keep charges for other services (interment, chapel etc.) to remain at a rate comparable to cost Keep charges for other services (interment, chapel etc.) to remain at a rate comparable to cost © Bishop’s Stortford Town Council

4 Questions & Recommendation © Bishop’s Stortford Town Council Questions Questions Does BSTC wish to continuing subsiding burials? Does BSTC wish to continuing subsiding burials? Does BSTC wish to subsidising burials at the current rate? Does BSTC wish to subsidising burials at the current rate? Does BSTC wish to subsidise the costs of maintenance after the ERB has expired? Does BSTC wish to subsidise the costs of maintenance after the ERB has expired? on the grounds that the inability to reuse space is a matter of public policy not individual choice on the grounds that the inability to reuse space is a matter of public policy not individual choice Does BSTC wish to subsidise the period before the ERB has expired? Does BSTC wish to subsidise the period before the ERB has expired? Where do we wish to position our burial costs relative to Where do we wish to position our burial costs relative to Other Councils both locally and nationally? Other Councils both locally and nationally? Costs of cremation locally? Costs of cremation locally? Recommendation Recommendation Adopt logic on previous page as the target Adopt logic on previous page as the target Moderate having regard to charges at neighbouring towns Moderate having regard to charges at neighbouring towns


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