During a Chelmsford City Council Cabinet Meeting on 26 January, it was revealed that the Liberal Democrats are hoping to hike up bereavement charges in Chelmsford in the midst of a pandemic. It seems they intend to plug the gap of increased spending elsewhere by increasing the amount grieving families must pay when they lose a loved one.
Conservative Cllr Galley, who spent 16 years budget planning, spoke out against the increase during the Meeting:
"At this particular time, unprecedented times, phenomenal amounts of deaths are taking place in our City Council area, and to suddenly decide to increase fees by no less than 12%, when nobody has any option than to bury their dead is rather immoral. It is such an easy take because nobody can do anything about it and I think in such harrowing times, they talk about the numbers but it's actually every number represents a family in some shape or form, who all have to go through the motions of burying their dead and to increase the charge for that by some 12%. That charge goes to the funeral directors and we all know that gets handed down to the customer at the end of the day. I feel their would be better ways to recoup what I think is £193,000...Morally, I think you as a Cabinet need to re-look at in these uncertain times. Yes, we might be making a loss on it, but there are times and timing is everything and I think this is not the right time to introduce a new payment like that in such tripod times."