'Coffin tax' hits Southport shul

Merseyside’s Sefton Council is introducing a “coffin tax” which threatens the future of the small Southport Hebrew Congregation.

On Thursday of last week, the council’s cabinet passed budgetary measures which will see an increase in burial costs at the local authority’s Duke Street cemetery from £750 to £900.

The cemetery is used by the 105-member congregation, which has an average age of 73. During the consultation process, the shul warned that its burial fund would be unable to meet the extra cost. It would be forced to dip into reserves and might have to “ultimately sell the synagogue”.

The increase, which takes effect next month, was defended by council leader Peter Dowd as the product of “unprecedented reductions in government spending”.

Last updated: 10:45am, March 11 2013