Grieving relatives are being ripped off by cremation costs that are 36.5 per cent above the national average in areas where there is no competition, a funeral services comparison site has claimed.
The average national cremation price has now risen to £784 but some crematoriums are charging up to £300 more than that – and at Lancaster & Morecambe crematorium the price is £1,055, making it the 13th most expensive in the country.
The crematorium’s nearest ‘competitor’ is 13 miles away at Beetham Hall, which opened in January 2017.
Comparison site Beyond says this is creating a monopoly as families do not want to travel long distances to lay their loved ones to rest.
However, a spokesman for Dignity, who run Lancaster & Morecambe crematorium, said their service is for 60 minutes, compared with other crematoria where the service is often for 30 minutes.
In addition to their all-inclusive fee of £1,070 for 60 minutes, the spokesman said they have a direct cremation fee of £499 (with no service); an attended direct cremation fee of £675 (for a 30-minute service for up to 12 people) and also an off-peak service fee of £897.
A spokesman said: “People tell us that the most important factor in organising a cremation is being able to make a booking that allows them sufficient time to pay their respects to loved ones.
“Our fee structure gives clients and their families a number of choices at different price levels.
“Dignity crematoria include components that our competitors often charge separately for, such as legal and practical necessities.
“Compared on a price per minute basis, Dignity is cheaper than the majority of local authorities and cheaper than the market average.”