PEOPLE in Huddersfield are to be fined - if they're late for their own funeral.

Council chiefs are unhappy with delays affecting funeral services across Kirklees.

And now they plan to make funeral directors fork out £100 for every 15 minutes burial staff are left waiting.

The new proposed fines are included in a batch of increased charges which come into effect next month.

But they have come under fire from undertakers, who labelled the council as `penny pinching'.

Bereavement bosses at Kirklees Council are set to hit mourners in the pocket from April 5.

The new charges include:

* A £100 late fee for every 15 minutes council burial staff are kept waiting

* A new £70 headstone licence which permits people to put up a grave memorial

* Earth cremation plots, which previously lasted forever, will now last for just 50 years and have gone up by 50% to £90.

The planned charges also see a new £70 cost for Garden of Rest plaque permits.

Regular adult interment costs are to go up from £420 to £450 and cremation costs are going up by 9% or £30 to £350.

The charges have not gone down well with undertakers.

Carriagemaster David Peace, who runs a hearse hire service, said firms needed help from the council, not fines.

He added: "They've got their priorities all wrong. The highways department are useless. They aren't answerable to anyone.

"Cemeteries are saying if you are going to be late we are going to fine you. But you have got traffic problems because of the way the highways department acts."

Mr Peace, a hearse driver for 12 years, said: "The funeral directors try their best.

"It will just end up with the bereaved families paying a bit extra on each funeral to meet the costs of the ones which run late.

"These families are at their most vulnerable and all the council can do is think about how to get money in."

Anne Munns, cemetery manager for Kirklees Council, said the fines were aimed at encouraging good practice.

She added: "If a funeral arrives anything between 15 and 30 minutes late, then it obviously affects the following funerals.

"This creates additional suffering for families.

"We have looked at the situation and believe 15 minutes should be a cut-off point allowing for delays."

She said the new fees would bring Kirklees in-line with charges by other local authorities.