SOUTHEND has been named as one of the most expensive place in the East of England for burial fees where the cost can be as high as £2,730.

The GMB union surveyed all authorities and found Southend Council charges £2,730 for a burial and £1,300 for a cremation.

As a result, the union says people in Southend pay £1,000 more than the next highest town, Ipswich, where the city council charges £1,808 for burial and £1,743.00 for cremation.

The cheapest was Stevenage at £816.30 for burial and £242.75 for cremation.

However, Southend Council hit back at the survey, insisting there were cheaper burials available.

A spokesman said: “Southend provides customers with two types of plot to choose from - traditional and lawn.

“Almost all of our customers go for lawn type grave which costs £1,485.

“Unfortunately the GMB used the higher price without checking what is, overwhelmingly, our most popular option.”

If the lower figure had been included it would have appeared as fourth most expensive.

Basildon Council which did not respond to the GMB but provided the Echo with a figure would be ninth in the list

No Essex councils were in the top ten for England for burials.

Lambeth was named as most costly at £5,329 and City of London for cremation at £3,464.

A separate study by insurance company Sun Life Direct found that the average funeral costs are £3,284.

If all the services are included, for example, funeral director’s costs, doctor’s fees for certification, flowers, limousines and catering for the wake/reception then the total average is £7,114.

Paul Hayes, GMB Regional Secretary said, “At a time when the cost of living occupies most peoples concerns it will be a real shock to many living in the East of England that the cost of dying is so high.

“Someone is making a lot of money out of peoples bereavement.”