The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Bretby crem sale a done deal

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Exactly why East Staffordshire Borough Council and South Derbyshire District Council, the representatives of the people of Buxton-upon-Trent, who are the owners of Bretby crematorium, should want to sell it on their behalf and without their say so, is a dark and nasty mystery. Bretby crem is profit-making, well run and highly regarded.

The sale was agreed by the councillors in a secret meeting. Why secret? The same Judas councillors are now in negotiation with Midlands Co-op, and they’re talking figures in the region of £8 million – a large sum for the Co-op to recoup. How are they going to do that? What’s in it for them?

Anxieties have been raised about monopoly issues.

Councillor Frank Bather, independent, has criticised the councils for ‘lack of communication’ – in other words, conspiratorial secrecy. He asks why no mention was made of the proposed sale in the borough council newsletter.

Here is the council’s dog-ate-my-homework explanation:

“We did have information about the sale in the newsletter when we were looking into it. Now the newsletter will not come out until after the elections. It is a timing thing.”

Bastards!

 

 

6 comments on “Bretby crem sale a done deal

  1. Jonathan

    Thursday 24th March 2011 at 1:45 pm

    No doubt the Midlands Co-op’s accountants have done their sums, and our arithmeical speculations are idle unless there’s an actual conspiracy afoot. No comment.

    But a big outfit like the one in question can sink money into a long-term venture whose greater vision is growth. Perhaps it’s simply a case of monopoly being the better part of profitability?

    If the SAIF investigation into prices can tell us anything, it’s that this is not to keep down the price of funerals for Midlands to get an edge on competitors. Recently bereaved people choose a funeral director for less than logical reasons, and are at the mercy of their FD’s whims, agreeing to be ripped off for want of assertiveness. A friend told me her daughter had to be cremated in a chipboard coffin ‘because we don’t do wicker ones, and she can’t be buried.’ An intelligent woman, she didn’t even ask why not; an intelligent man, I can only think it was for the convenience of the FD.

    I couldn’t do that, even to a complete stranger, even to save my life, but there are evidently some who do so routinely and willingly. There is no place for this kind of standard commercial practice in a caring profession, and it is these matters that need bringing to the public’s attention more than anything.

  2. Fakenham Fact Finder

    Wednesday 23rd March 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I wonder how many of the 1,300 funerals are carried out by the prospective owners? Perhaps they like the thought of having the profit from their crem fees recycled to them?

  3. Wednesday 23rd March 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Eligibility calls for a broader spectrum of boob-proneness.

    Now, £130,000 is going to take a lot longer to turn into a profit — it’ll take just under 8 years for the increase to yield a single million on top of what the crem is earning at the moment. But doubtless someone has done the sums and doubtless these sums take into account a cunning plan. Doesn’t look good for the good people of Burton, does it?

  4. Fakenham Fact Finder

    Wednesday 23rd March 2011 at 7:25 pm

    🙂 I typed one too many 0’s on my calculator – £1.3m should read £130,000. With prices like that I should work for Funeralcare!

    Apologies for the error – I need a drink after a hard day’s work.

  5. Wednesday 23rd March 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you very much for this, FFF. The team at the GFG suffers from terminal innumeracy, and is therefore indebted to you. I shall notify the Burton Mail and those good people who are fighting the sale.

  6. Fakenham Fact Finder

    Wednesday 23rd March 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Bretby Crem carried out 1,397 cremations in 2008, and 1,390 cremations in 2009, ranking the crematorium 155th by volume out of the 256 crematoria in operation.

    The basic cremation fee at Bretby was £444 in 2009, which was 211th out of 256.

    Considering that the top 50 crematoria charged between £548 and £649 in 2009, there is considerable scope for price increases.

    £100 added to 1,300 cremations gives a £1.3 million pound return. Add on to that the savings by using Bretby staff as bearers on funerals and the returns from increasing the prices of memorialisation then you can see why a funeral company would want to make the purchase.

    Oh happy days…

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