When I saw the headline 357% hike in cost to bereaved in Hyndburn the the Lancashire Telegraph I reached for my batman cape, sharpen my pencil and prepared to charge into battle, then after realising I had mixed too many metaphors thought I had better look a bit deeper. Thankfully I did not have look to deep. The story was a small exercise in either lazy journalism or petty political point scoring or maybe both.
So underneath the headline grabbing figure is the story that Hyndburn Borough Council in Lancashire needed to increase the handling fee for dealing with ashes from different locations increasing it from from £14 to £50, a rise of £36. To me that doesn’t sound that newsworthy, but it is the shameful use of statics that gets on my nerves.
Don’t get me wrong I feel sorry for the lady who was asked to pay the increased administration fee, but it not really an example of the Authority profiteering, and believe you me I do quite like pointing out when authorities are greedy, incompetent or both (usually just incompetence)
They got a quote from the Leader of the opposition at Hyndburn Borough Council, Peter Britcliffe and he said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful.
“The council said they have no money which is nonsense because they have £5million in the bank.” – umm me thinks he me be after making a wider political point?
Even the first line. “A WIDOW was forced to change plans to scatter her husband’s ashes after a 357 per cent price hike at Accrington Cemetery.” She wasn’t forced, from the quotes she doesn’t say she has changed her plans or even considering changing them, she just doesn’t like paying more than she had budgeted for – fair enough .
I shall leave you with the councils explanation and let you decide:
Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “We don’t charge for scattering of ashes from Accrington Crematorium, but we’ve had to increase the fee for ashes coming from a different crematorium as the £14 didn’t cover our costs of receiving and handling the ashes, accompanying the bereaved to the Garden of Remembrance and recording the location of the scattering in our registers, this also brings us in line with other authorities charge.”
By the way, as crematoria go it is slightly more attractive than most.