Fife Council set to start charging for live streaming funeral services
Fife Council has been urged to re-think plans to start charging for live streaming funeral services.
With numbers of mourners allowed to attend in person severely curtailed by pandemic restrictions, the local authority launched a free streaming service last May.
From the start of next month, that will cost £45.
And the decision to bring in charges has prompted criticism from one Fife MSP.
The charges come as part of an overall 8% rise in funeral charges planned for the new financial year which starts in April.
Annabelle Ewing, SNP member for Mid-Scotland and Fife, said: ““One of the hardest restrictions people have had to bear during this year has been the cap placed on the numbers who can attend funerals.
“The ability for friends and relatives to attend a service ‘virtually’ through a live webcast – or, indeed to ‘catch up’ later – has helped to make that restriction a little more tolerable.
“It is a function that in these times should not be offered as an optional extra but a facility that is available for everyone.”
She added: “Fife has been one of the lower charging councils for funeral services. I know that the cost of all services cannot be frozen for ever, but I would really urge it to change its mind on the webcast charge, at least.”
Councillor David Barratt, convener of assets and corporate services sub committee, said: : “Introducing charges for the services we provide are never easy decisions to make.
“Our employees in bereavement services have worked hard over the last year to provide the best service possible under the most challenging of circumstances, supporting bereaved families.
“However, we have to invest if we are to continue to improve the services we provide and look after the cemeteries in our care.”Mr Barratt said the council had no objections to families filming their own service and streaming it live - provided mourners were in agreement.
Fife was one of the few areas which didn’t offer a streaming service at funeral ceremonies - it wasn’t an issue until only six people were allowed to attend funerals.