CREMATION fees in the Capital have risen again and are £100 higher than in Glasgow.
Mourners can now expect to fork out £663 for a service at Mortonhall – up from £644 during the previous financial year and around £550 in 2010.
The rise has sparked concern among charity and advice workers, who warned stress generated by affordability worries could turn grief into mental illness.
Stewart Wilson, chief executive officer of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, said: “For most people, grief is not an illness but a natural, albeit a painful, process through which they will emerge in time. However, the impact of other stresses can prevent that process, and lead to a complicated grieving pattern which does require costly intervention and can precipitate major mental health issues.
“Clearly debt, and the stigma attached to not having been able to pay for a loved one’s funeral, is one such major stress.”
He added: “Our concern about the further increase in funeral costs, including the increase in cremation costs in Edinburgh, is two-fold.
“We are concerned that this will make more people unable to pay for a funeral, and, as a result, that more people will struggle to manage their grief.”
The latest figures show fees here are significantly higher than those elsewhere in Scotland.
A service for a person aged 16 and over costs nearly £640 in Inverness, £580 in Aberdeen and just over £560 in Glasgow, while there are no council-run crematoria in Dundee or Stirling. Among city councils, only Perth has higher fees, at £730.
Fraser Sutherland, of Citizens Advice Scotland, said the impact of soaring bills was a common complaint and called for new limits.
He said: “Last year we reported an increase of 27 per cent in the numbers of Scots seeking advice about the issue.
“People already struggling to get by are finding themselves hit by a huge bill at a time when they are grieving and perhaps in shock, if the bereavement has been sudden. The fact there is a postcode lottery makes things even worse.
“Advisers will help bereaved families as much as we can, but we are also campaigning to persuade governments, local authorities and funeral directors to cut the costs.”
Fresh evidence of rising fees comes after a fire ripped through a chimney at Mortonhall last month, resulting in 26 funeral cancellations.
An inquiry into the cause of the blaze is ongoing.
City chiefs stressed all fee revenue was spent on ensuring high-quality services at Mortonhall.
A spokeswoman said: “The cost of cremations carried out by the council is in line with that charged by commercial crematoria in the city. The income is reinvested to improve bereavement facilities, and in the vital maintenance of Edinburgh’s 42 cemeteries, a number of which are hundreds of years old.”