Please see below an update given to by Luton Borough Council following representations from Luton communities regarding burials, cremations and the costs to families during the Covid-19 Pandemic outbreak.
In line with government regulations the Vale has been closed to the public except for funerals. This is causing concern and the Local Government Association have asked the government to review this. However, it is the current policy which we have to follow.
There is also strict guidance on the numbers of attendees and we have set a limit of 20 mourners. This is only:
• Spouse or partner
• Parents or carers
• Brothers and sisters
• Children and their partners
Mourners also need to follow social distancing even during travel to the Vale.
Anyone who is infected with COVID-19 or from a household where someone has symptoms should not attend. This is very hard for families and mourners but is to protect any potential risk of passing the virus on.
Further information is available here:
Support with Funeral costs
At any time costs of funerals can create pressure on families and relatives. Some government support is available for relatives in the greatest need. From the 8th of April the grant level was increased by £300. Information on who can apply can be found at https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments.
Funeral costs can vary considerably dependent on the wishes of the deceased and the relatives. Funeral Directors have a range of options available for families to consider.
The costs at the Vale only form part of the costs of a funeral. A review of charges for the Scale of Charges in February 2020 showed that the costs at the Vale are already some of the lowest costs nationally. However, in recognition the impact of COVID-19 the following changes are being made:
• Additional charges for weekend and bank holiday funerals have been withdrawn with effect from 9th April 2020. This is a reduction of £300 for a burial and £200 for a cremation.
• Where, within 6 weeks, there is more than one COVID-19 related death in a household there will be a waiving of the internment fee for the 2nd burial. This is a reduction of £775. The normal plot charges will apply. Information will need to be provided by the Funeral Director on the household address to confirm eligibility.
Public Health Funerals
Sadly, there may be occasions for a death in the community where no next of kin or no will can be found and there is a requirement for the Council to step in. Further information can be found here:
Whilst these arrangements are dignified and appropriate, the burial will be in an unmarked grave and up to 3 bodies may be buried in each plot. Public Health Burials will also take some time as there is a search for next of kin.