Finance Planning for Burial Costs/ Graveyards

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Does anyone know if Parish  Councils should budget for any future burial fees in their parish?
asked by (260 points)

1 Answer

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If they have  taken on the duties of a burial authority which they have the legislative right to do, then Yes. It would be bad financial management to fund the costs from contingencies and the exter auditor would expect the PC budget to reflect the costs in their precept.
answered by (6.5k points)
Thanks for this. I'm personally struggling to understand why you cant plan for these things in advance ( I'm a new Clerk) but if its via the precept when it does eventually happen then so be it. Thanks again.
I'm unclear about the question. A parish council is a burial authority, but does not have a statutory duty to provide a cemetery. If it decides to provide a cemetery (or is already doing so) then it has to deal with its financing. Most councils seek to cover costs through burial fees. Ideally, fees need to be high enough to build up a fund, as the problem with cemeteries is that when full the revenue stops but the maintenance costs don't. The council could choose to subsidise a cemetery using money from the precept, but it would be unfair on those citizens that choose not to use the cemetery.
It is more to do with maintenance planning for when the churchyard is closed. The Parish Council has to find funds to look after the churchyard. It would appear that it would be addressed by an increase in the precept. I was looking at whether a specific fund could be started to drip feed in to prevent a large increase in precept but looks like it cant. We are a small parish.
Thanks for clarifying. There is nothing to stop the parish from ramping up the precept gradually in order to anticipate the costs of a closed churchyard, if this is a strong possibility. The money obtained that way can be earmarked as a specific reserve. The external auditor will accept a build up of reserves provided there is an reasonable explanation of what it is needed for. As discussed in other questions here, the parish can pass the responsibility to the district, but that may backfire as the district has the power to levy an additional parish council tax to pay for extra costs above those for other parishes, and the parish may prefer to maintain control over the churchyard maintenance.

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