The cost of burials in East Dunbartonshire is almost four times higher than other areas of the country, a new report has found.
Last month, a study by Citizen’s Advice Scotland (CAS) was commissioned to assess the financial impact of a typical funeral in Scotland.
It found that rising costs, coupled with a wholesale reduction in council budgets, has created a ‘postcode lottery’ for bereaved families.
The Citizen’s Advice Scotland report said that East Dunbartonshire Council now charges £2,716 for the combined cost of a lair and internment.
Its tariff is the most expensive of all local authorities; more than twice the Scottish average and almost four times the £715 charged by East Renfrewshire Council.
Susan McPhee, head of policy with Citizen’s Advice Scotland, said: “People who have never organised a funeral are often shocked at how expensive it is.
“Bereavement is a difficult time for any family, and most people don’t like to talk about the cost of interring their loved one.
“We have seen a 27 per cent increase in Scots coming to Citizen’s Advice because they simply can’t afford to pay for a burial or cremation.
“These people are of course in real distress at having to face this awful situation.
“It’s even worse to discover that some people are being charged significantly more in burial costs than those in other areas — even just a few miles away.”
She added: “To make matters worse, the special assistance scheme that people have been able to claim in the past has been squeezed of resources, so that 50 per cent of applications are now being turned down.”
Grace Irvine, East Dunbartonshire Council’s director of neighbourhood services, said: “The council had some very difficult decisions to make while facing increased budgetary pressures.
“Every effort was made, where possible, to introduce or increase charges for certain services, rather than removing services.
“The price for the purchase of a lair and one internment rose to £2,716 in April.
“We realise that burial charges are a sensitive issue but we promise to work with residents who are struggling to pay these charges in difficult times.
“Arrangements can be reached on such things as instalments, where people are given longer terms to pay certain costs.”
She added: “We urge anyone with concerns, and wishing to make phased payments for cemetery charges, to get in touch.”