A special committee of councillors will review Blackburn with Darwen Council's proposed increases in charges for burials and cremations.

It follows the authority's Conservative ground accusing the authority's Labour bosses of seeking to 'profiteer from death'.

Now the planned rises will be examined by a specially-convened 'Call In' committee on Thursday night.

It was requested by Livesey with Pleasington Tory Cllr Mark Russell.

At the beginning of this month borough environment boss Cllr Jim Smith announced the increases for burial and cremation charges which estimates at around six per cent with effect from January 1.

They included rises for an adult cremation from £920 to £980 (6.52 per cent); for a grave purchase from £1,450 to £1,600 (6.08 per cent); and for a single burial from £590 to £630 (6.78 per cent).

They are expected to generate an additional £130,000 annually in income for the council.

He blames sky-rocketing energy prices which have put up the costs for bereavement services.

Cllr Russell's 'call in' request, backed by five other Conservative councillors, says: "The proposed increases are too large.

"The crematorium and cemeteries between them have been budgeting to make annual profits in the region of £1 million so these increases make Labour appear to be profiteering from death."

Cllr Russell said: "Labour already budget to make a huge profit from the crematorium and cemeteries so these increases are not justified.

"The proposed increases amount to an unnecessary death tax on bereaved families in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis."

Cllr Smith responded: “2023/24 has been a challenging year financially due to the soaring cost of inflation and the impact this has had on budgets, in particular, the cost of goods and services, vehicles, fuel and utility costs.

"Increased costs and cuts to funding has hit all councils hard and Blackburn with Darwen is no exception. We expect 2024/25 to be just as challenging.

“Faced with some difficult decisions, it’s clear that increasing some fees and charges is preferable to cutting services – and this view is shared by those residents who took part in our recent budget consultation."