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Fee rises announced

04 January 2013

by a staff reporter

NEW fees for weddings and funerals in churches came into force on 1 January.

The 40-per-cent rise in fees (News, 10 February 2012) was introduced to "standardise" fees and stop some churches from charging for extras such as lighting. PCCs are still able to charge extra fees for heating, the services of a verger, the choir and organist, and flowers.

The statutory fee for a funeral service has risen from £102 to £160, and the fee for a marriage service from £262 to £381.

Also changed under the Fees Measure is the way that the fees are distributed. A portion will go to the PCC, as before, but the incumbent's fee has now become the Diocesan Board of Finance fee.

A priest can still decide to waive fees, but only on the grounds of "clear financial hardship". The Archbishops' Council has urged an end to the practice in some churches of waiving fees for long-standing members of the congregation.

Funeral costs. The Local Government Association has reported a year-on-year increase in the number of "paupers' funerals", where the deceased has no next of kin, or relatives refuse to pay. Local authorities in England and Wales paid for nearly 3000 funerals in 2011.

Joan Walley, the Labour MP for Stoke on Trent North, has called on the Government to raise its funeral payment for those on low incomes. Since 2003, it has been set at less than £1200, but the average cost of a funeral now is about £2700.


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