THE cost of burying or cremating loved ones across South and West Dorset are a postcode lottery, according to a new survey.

Research from Funeralbooker, an independent funeral comparison service, showed that burial fees cost £3,884 on average across the region.

Average burial fees varied from as low as £3,536 in Bridport to as high as £4,012 in Weymouth, a difference of almost £500.

Burial fees across the rest of the region included £3,983 in Dorchester and Portland, £3,583 in Maiden Newton and £3,836 in Wool.

In comparison, cremations in the region cost £3,337 with the highest in Lyme Regis at £3,450 while the lowest was in Weymouth at £3,213, a difference of a £237.

Meanwhile, cremations in the rest of the region cost £3,345 in Maiden Newton, £3,213 in Wool, £3,359 in Dorchester and £3,270 in Bridport.

James Dunn, co-founder of Funeralbooker, said: “These prices are the ultimate stealth tax, going completely unnoticed by families until their moment of need.

“It’s now becoming a postcode lottery based on where you live.”

A spokesman for Cruse Bereavement, a charity which provides support and counsel to the bereaved, said: “The cost of cremation and burial fees is very worrying for families. Not only are people dealing with bereavement they suddenly have big bills to pay, it compounds grief.”

Terry Tennens, chief executive of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), said: “Most councils across the UK continue to increase the price of burials and cremations to a level that is simply unaffordable for many people.

“As independent funeral directors, all SAIF member firms are committed to complete openness and transparency on costs and offer a range of different options, including a low cost simple funeral.

“We are working with the Government to ensure more support is available for families on a low income.

“Whilst we appreciate Councils face their own financial pressures, we would urge them to consider the impact these increases are having on the bereaved.”