Manchester’s cemeteries have taken a historic stride forward in the creation of a single burial authority.
The agreement last week between 11 of 12 burial boards followed negotiations lasting two years. Some of the city’s Jewish cemeteries were in disrepair and there was a major shortage of burial plots. A number of burial boards have historically used fees to prop up synagogue finances.
The North Manchester Cemeteries Trust will merge 10 shul burial boards and one joint board under one authority with a paid administrator which will add a £26 annual levy to shul burial fees. The sums will generate a fund to maintain 10 burial grounds.
The trust’s Brian White said the charity will be transparent in how funds are administered. “We don’t want to go back to the disaster where everyone has their own little burial fund which has been abused for all kinds of purposes. Money was not ring-fenced.
“Accounts will be published, which has never been done before, and there will be restriction on application of funds. This is a massive move forward for a modest increase in burial fees.”
Burial boards will now pass the agreement through their shul executives, with the new burial levy of 50p a week introduced by January.