Cremation costs for grieving families in Northampton among the highest in the country
Grieving relatives in Northampton are being hit by cremation costs that rank among some of the most expensive in the country.
The average price of a cremation service in Northampton reaches Â£1,070 according to research by comparison site Beyond, nearly Â£300 more expensive than the national average of Â£784.
The group says it is part of a national trend where prices for a funeral rise depending on how far away the nearest competitor crematorium is.
The only crematorium servicing Northampton is the privately owned Counties Crematorium in Milton Malsor, where the average price for a service is Â£1,070.
The nearest competitor is the Nene Valley Crematorium in Wellingborough, some 14 miles from Milton Malsor.
Beyond say the tipping point for a "crematorium monopoly" effect is 7.5 miles. If a crematorium is further than 7.5 miles away from its nearest competitor, the average price it charges rises significantly.
The group claims crematoriums can create monopolies on their services as families baulk at travelling long distances to lay their loved ones to rest.
The research comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week announced a review into the spiralling costs of funerals.
James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “For far too long, not enough has been done about spiralling cremation costs. Mourners are being exploited and it’s fantastic news that the CMA has launched its probe into this sector.
“In everyday life, it can pay to shop around for a better deal. In death, however, it’s not always possible to go elsewhere and consumers need to be protected when providers can essentially charge what they like.
“Prices should not be allowed to spiral out of control in areas where there is no competition. No provider should be able to cash in on grief in this way.”