Grieving relatives may have to cough up an extra £325 to pay for the burial costs of their loved if this year's budget for Thurrock goes ahead.

According the Conservative-led administration's budget plan for fees and charges, the interment fee - which is the fee for digging the grave at the time of the funeral - is set to go up by 50 per cent.

During the current tax year (17/18), this fee cost £650 to have a body buried in a grave and £300 to have cremated ashes buried in a grave. If the budget goes ahead, the cost of these will go up to £975 and £450 respectively.

Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance, Shane Hebb said: “I announced last Wednesday (7 February) that we have taken the approach for 18/19 of waiving charges interment fees for all under 16 years olds.

“With respect to changes in prices for residents aged  16 years and over, all fees and charges have been amended  based on a review carried out which highlighted a significant difference between Council run facilities and those within the private and public sectors. The 50% increase reflects market changes, local benchmarking and capacity planning and were heard at Cleaner, Greener, Safer Overview Scrutiny in December last year.”

Although these charges are set to be increased, the council are also planning on waiving the interment fee for children under 16 who have died, which currently costs £155.

Speaking in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Mr Hebb added: "Losing a child is something I couldn’t imagine and I hope that many of us couldn’t.

"Notwithstanding the emotional trauma, laying somebody to rest has to be one of the hardest things anybody would have to do. 

"We as a Cabinet have had a look at some of the charges associated with funerals and we will be moving forward with the abolition of the interment fee for all children under the age of 16, not just the children under the age of 5, if they tragically pass away."

The interment fee only covers part of the entire funeral cost. There are still additional payments to be made for aspects such as hiring an undertaker and buying a headstone.