Saturday, 17 January 2009
Open letter to the Cabinet Resources Committee
Update 10:40, 19 January 2009
The Leader of the Council has refused to allow my open letter below be circulated to members of the Cabinet Resources Committee. Instead it has been referred to the Cabinet Members responsible for their consideration.
Dear Members of the Cabinet Resources Committee
Item 11 on your Agenda seeks your approval for revised fees and charges for the Planning, Housing and Regeneration Directorate. I respectfully draw your attention to Appendix D which relates to cemetery and crematorium fees.
The proposed increases are all substantially in excess of the rate of inflation (with one minor exception). The increase for young children’s grave charges is the highest at 10%, with interment fees set to rise significantly also.
It is hard to imagine anything more distressing for a parent than to bury a child and whilst there is obviously a cost to the Borough in arranging burials, I implore you to show compassion to what must be a relatively small number of families and to waive these charges completely or, at the very least, keep them at the current level.
It is generally accepted across the political spectrum that some public services cannot run at a profit or in accordance with the normal ‘rules’ of supply and demand. This is just such a situation and one which I hope you will agree merits public subsidy.
The report before you does not state how much money the proposed increases will raise, but in terms of the council’s total annual income it must be a miniscule amount. I therefore urge you to be sympathetic unto those mourning their loved ones, find savings in other parts of the budget which is still under consideration, and accordingly reject the recommendation before you.