Families in the region are being hit hard by ever rising cremation and burial fees, according to new figures.
The data, which comes from Funeralbooker, an independent funeral comparison service, show that in Hartlepool the cost of cremation this year is £710 - an increase of 3.5% on last year’s price of £686.
The cost of a burial this year is £1,573 an increase of 16.8% on last year’s price of £1,347.
Comparatively across the region, Sunderland has also seen an increase.
This year the cost for a cremation in Sunderland is now £740, while last year’s cost was £657 -an increase in price by 12.6%.
The cost of a burial in Sunderland is now £1,710 - an increase in price by 5.8% on last year’s cost which was £1,616.
In South Tyneside, prices have remained the same despite sharp rises in prices across the North East.
In South Tyneside the cost for cremations this year has stayed the same at £742.
The burial cost in South Tyneside this year has also stayed the same at £1,706.
Elsewhere it is a very different story.
On average, the findings show that cremation fees are going up by 3.7%, while burial fees in the region are rocketing by 5.1%.
As a result, families will find themselves forced to shell out £727 on average for a cremation, while the average burial fee in the North East will now cost £1,612.
This compares to the UK as a whole, where the average cremation fee now comes in at £753, while burial costs significantly more at £1,792.
The price increases in the North East are below those seen across the UK as a whole.
The figures mean the region as the ninth most expensive in which to be cremated and the sixth most expensive in which to be buried.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We acknowledge that organising the burial or cremation of a loved one can be a very difficult and distressing experience for grieving families.
“We try to ensure that our services are of the highest possible standard whilst also striving to keep fees – which largely fund these services – as low as possible.
“Whilst we have had to increase our burial and cremation costs this is also reflective of the wider regional picture.”
James Dunn, co-founder of Funeralbooker, said: “These price hikes are the ultimate stealth tax, going completely unnoticed by families until their moment of need.
“But with such significant price differences now appearing across the region, many will be questioning whether these fees genuinely reflect the service they are getting or are simply down to opportunistic greed.
“Disbursements, or cremation and burial fees, are almost entirely unavoidable, but families can protect themselves by planning ahead.
“It might be worth taking out a pre-paid funeral plan, which will guarantee to meet your funeral director’s fees and will help meet the costs of disbursements.
“If these costs continue to climb, families will struggle.”
For more information and to view the data visit: https://funeralbooker.com/blog/2017-cremation-burial-cost-index/