A POSSIBLE rise in cemetery fees of five per cent will be considered by Torfaen council’s cabinet next week as one of a number of proposals to boost income.

As part of the 2018/2019 budget considerations, the authority was proposing a rise of eight per cent to cemetery as it looked to address a £9million shortfall.

As part of its budget policy, the council is required to have income levels of £461,000 in 2018/19.

However, the council’s scrutiny committees baulked at the plans, suggesting a rise of three per cent instead.

The report co-written by Nigel Aurelius, Torfaen’s assistant chief executive for resources, and David Lilly, the council’s head of financial services,” outlines the only budget saving proposal highlighted by the scrutiny committee was the rise in cemetery fees.

“The only increase that was the subject of scrutiny comment was in relation to cemetery fees,” the report states.

“The scrutiny comment was that ‘scrutiny members felt unable to support an increase of eight per cent, but suggest cabinet consider an increase of three per cent’.

“The budget report stated ‘cabinet of March 13 will consider our fees and charges policy including proposed increases for 2018/19. That report will take account of the scrutiny comment in relation to cemetery fees when considering the policy’."

However, the council's cabinet will now consider a rise of five per cent.

“The loss of income in moving from eight per cent to three per cent would be around £15,000 and would have to be made up through either increasing charges elsewhere or further reductions," tje report continued.

“Accordingly the executive, being both mindful of the scrutiny comments and the need to address any shortfall, have suggested a reduced increase of five per cent.

“This is less than the original proposal but not as low as scrutiny recommendations but the executive believe that strikes the appropriate balance.

“The shortfall which needs to be addressed as a result of this change is around £9,000.”

The proposed rise in cemetery fees is one of nine proposals to help the council raise £261,000 in additional income to aid cost pressures, if all are agreed.

Meanwhile, the cabinet will be looking at making saving in the region of £200,000, therefore meeting the requirement of £461,000.

The meeting is on Tuesday, March 13.