Blackburn with Darwen Council has proposed increases in charges for burials and cremations, effective from the start of February.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe borough\u2019s executive member for environment and operations, Cllr Jim Smith, announced at the start of the year that charges for burials and cremations will rise by roughly 6%.\u00a0\r\n\r\nCllr Smith attributed the rise in burial and cremation rates to high energy prices and inflation, which have caused costs within the council\u2019s bereavement services to also increase.\r\n\r\nThe local authority outlined that adult cremation will rise by 6.52% from \u00a3920 to \u00a3980; purchasing a grave will rise \u00a36.2% from \u00a31,450 to \u00a31,540; and single burials will rise \u00a36.78% from \u00a3590 to \u00a3630.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhile the increased rates are expected to generate an additional \u00a3130k annually for the council, the original price for a grave purchase was set to rise to \u00a31,600 but was corrected at the committee after it was highlighted the increase was incorrect.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe Call In Committee, which was held on Thursday 21 December, was requested by Livesey with Pleasington Conservative Councillor Mark Russell who accused the authority\u2019s Labour leaders of seeking to \u201cprofiteer from death\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe \u2018call-in\u2019 request was backed by five other Conservative councillors, who believed the proposed increases were too large.\r\n\r\nOn 21 December, the proposals were passed with a majority of seven to one, with one councillor abstaining from the vote.\r\n\r\nConservative Cllr Paul Marrow of Livesey with Pleasington said: \u201cThis is a very sad decision. We feel it is just greed by the council to be putting up the prices like they have done, after just announcing an increase in council tax for next year too. It\u2019s nothing but greed. They\u2019ve found a cash cow and they\u2019re milking it.\u201d\r\n\r\nCllr Russell added: "I'm disappointed that they didn't refer this back to the executive member. When they're already budgeting for a \u00a31m a year profit from burials and cremations, it's profiteering from death and there's no moral justification for it. But, at least they have rectified the graves fees to \u00a31,540 instead of \u00a31,600."\r\n\r\nCllr Smith responded: \u201c2023\/24 has been a challenging year financially due to the soaring cost of inflation and the impact this has had on budgets, in particular, the cost of goods and services, vehicles, fuel and utility costs.\r\n\r\n"Increased costs and cuts to funding have hit all councils hard and Blackburn with Darwen is no exception. We expect 2024\/25 to be just as challenging. Faced with some difficult decisions, it\u2019s clear that increasing some fees and charges is preferable to cutting services \u2013 and this view is shared by those residents who took part in our recent budget consultation."