Fife Council orders removal of charge to grieving families for live stream of funerals
Fife Council has U-turned on a decision to charge grieving families £45 to live-stream funerals from next month following outrage from within its own administration.
The proposals, revealed yesterday, would have seen the cost introduced for broadcasting services from crematoria in the Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
However, the proposal has now been binned following interventions by members of Fife's administration who had been alarmed by the plans.
Cllr David Barratt (SNP), convener of the corporate services committee responsible for council-hosted funerals, has instructed officers to drop the policy.
He said: "These were operational decisions that only came to my attention this week having been raised by Annabelle Ewing.
"As convener of the relevant committee, I have asked for this charge to be removed immediately."
New charges were not detailed in any public documents, nor discussed at meetings of the council or its committees.
The issue is believed to stem from the original decision in May last year to begin livestreaming funeral services, because of Covid restrictions limiting the number of people who could attend in person.
Council officers used delegated powers to introduce streaming and agreed that the authority would absorb associated costs for the rest of the financial year, which ends at the end of this month.
Cllr Barratt added: "Clearly, the hope had been that restrictions would have been lifted by the new financial year, but when the circumstances that led to the decision to provide the service persist, it is right to extend the measure and to offer live streaming free of charge for as long as restrictions are in place.