23/10/2017 14:38 BST

Labour MP Says Grieving Families Are Being Ripped Off By Inflated Council Burial Charges

Siobhain McDonagh wants the government to take action.

PA Archive/PA Images

Grieving families are being ripped off by over-inflated council burial charges, a Labour MP has claimed.

Siobhain McDonagh wants the government to take action after several families in her London constituency said they had struggled to fulfill their relatives’ dying wishes due to a huge hike in the cost of cemetery plots.

The Mitcham and Morden MP said the problem was exacerbated in cases where a person had lived in one area for most of their life and been forced to move away in their later years.

“I have had lots of people coming to me to report problems with meeting the costs of their relatives funerals and burials,” she told HuffPost UK.

“It is particularly difficult in cases where the person who has passed away has had to move outside of the borough they spent most of their life in, because councils are adding hundreds and hundreds of pounds in extra charges on cemetery plots for non-residents.

Merton Council
Sutton Council
Some of the burial charges for cemeteries in Sutton and Merton.

″I would like to examine the extent of the problem and I would also like the Department for Communities and Local Government to look at setting out some guidelines on how much councils can charge.”

McDonagh has tabled a Westminster Hall debate to fully examine the issue, which will take place on Tuesday.

Local authorities in her constituency - including the London boroughs of Merton and Sutton - charge non-residents more than twice as much in fees for some burial services.

She added: “I realise councils are extremely strapped for cash and are having to raise revenues in any way they can, but people should not be having to pay the price for this at one of the most difficult times.

″Many households are already struggling, and should not have to deal with being unable to fulfill their loved ones final wishes because it’s too expensive.”